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African-American activist Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin first gained recognition in the sixties as his former
Ed Amir Brown
identity as the controversial and very outspoken Black civil rights militant, H. Rap Brown. Throughout Browns civil rights career, he was frequently quoted by the media for his fiery and inflammatory speeches that rallied support for African-Americans and urged them to arm themselves against the violence that White America used against them to hinder them of social injustice and their constitutional rights.
Born on October 4, 1943, Hubert Gerold Brown was the youngest of three children to Eddie, an oil worker, and Thelma Brown, a teacher. Born and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Brown grew up experiencing racial injustice at a young age. At an early age, Brown witnessed a White police officer unnecessarily harass and humiliate his father in front of his family. He also experience racial injustice as a young boy when he was apart of a local Boy Scouts troop and the troop went along a circus trip. Brown was shot at repeatedly with b.b. guns by another Boy Scout troop that was White. Consequently, Brown tore his pants in the bottom while trying to escape from them. While walking back home to have his pants sewed, Brown was stopped and harassed by a White police officer. Feeling humiliated and as if he has committed something wrong, Brown walked back to the circus to prevent from being stopped again and even possibly arrested.
Browns older siblings, Ed and Patricia Brown, believed Brown received special treatment because he was the lightest of the family. Even though Browns brother despised the preferential treatment, they both were very close with each other and Brown grew up looking up to his brother Ed.
As a child, Brown Attended Blundon Orphanage Home, an institution in Baton Rouge that was established by White missionaries to help Black kids from families that were to poor to support them. Wanting her children to have the best education possible and become successful within Black America. Thelma Brown often worked two jobs; she worked as a maid, taught at an orphanage home, and also went to night school to try to find a better job. Thelma withdrew her children from McKinley high school to attend Southern High School, a high school that was interlinked to Southern University, a HBCU (Historic Black College University) that Brown would later attend. For $12 dollars a year, Thelma Brown thought she was receiving the best education possible for her children, but the only problem was that Brown didn't want to get his education from the books and the teachers that taught them. Brown wanted to get his education from the streets and from the brothers on the block who ran them.
Even before attending high school, Brown was attracted to the street life, but he was wise enough to know that the street life could place heavy toll's on one's life; Brown witnessed such tolls on a childhood friend of his, J.S. Brown and J.S. grew up together on the streets of Baton Rouge, but J.S. was more heavily involved in the streets than what Brown was. Working at a local casino at the tender age of fourteen as a card dealer, J.S. would be on his way to bed whenever the other kids his age would be getting up to go to school in the morning. Although a bright student, J.S. later dropped out of school at a very young age and continued his ways of the streets throughout Baton Rouge. The last time Brown saw J.S. was doing a run in on the streets. Brown remembered that J.S. was good at math and asked him for help on a couple of problems, and J.S. quickly solved them without any problems. J.S. told Brown that he would tutor him in math if he needed the help, but that would be the last time that Brown would see J.S. again. A couple of weeks later J.S. shot and killed someone and the judge gave him life J.S. was only eighteen at the time.
As Brown continued through school, he excelled in sports such as basketball and football, and achieved a respectable academic career. Even though the streets is where he wanted to be, he kept his self within school to assure his mom that he would have a place within Black America, but the older that Brown got, the more attracted he got to the streets. Becoming street wise and popular among his neighborhood peers, Brown earned the nickname, Rap, for his rhythmic and fancy way of using words when reciting poetry and playing games like dozens and signifying. By signifying and playing dozens you would be with a group of friends that would joke around and cause havoc among each other, but in order to play your words had to be in sink and rhythmic. Brown was virtually the best with his way of words, and the name Rap eventually stuck with him.
Man, I cant win for losing.
If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't
have no luck at all.
I been having buzzard luck
Can't kill nothing and won't nothing die
I'm living on the welfare and things is
They borrowing their shit from the Salvation
But things bound to get better `cause they
can't get no worse.
I'm just like the blind man, standing by a
I don't feel no pain.
But it's your world
You the man I rent to.
If I had your hands I'd give `way both arms.
Cause I could do without them
I'm the man but you the main man
I read the books you write
You set he pace in the race I run in
Why, you always in good from
You got more foam than Alka Seltzer"
While in high school Brown began to get involved in the movement, in 1960, Browns high school class marched on the campus of Southern University during the time when they had some demonstrations. As a result, the whole class was suspended for two days. From that point on, Brown became interested in the movement. Brown and his brother Ed began to stay in very close contact while Ed was away in college at Howard University. Ed would tell Brown about NAG (Nonviolent Action Group), a group of students from Howard University that focused on community action throughout the communities of Washington, D.C.
At the age of fifteen, Brown entered Southern University in 1960, majoring in sociology. In 1962, Brown began to spend his summers in Washington, D.C., with Ed. Brown watched his brother become involved in NAG along with other future leaders of SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee): Stokley Carmichael, Courtland Cox, Mary Lovelance, Stanely Wise, and Muriel Tillinghast. Realizing the great struggle that African-Americans were up against at the time, Brown began to read books written by great African-American leaders that influenced his actions more and more to take part of the movement: W.E.B. DuBois, Frederick Douglas, Marcus Garvey, and Richard Wright.
During the summer of 1963, Brown returned back to Washington, D.C. to spend another summer with Ed. That summer Brown traveled to Cambridge, MD to help the residents, and organize and conduct meetings with other leaders. Any other time Brown would have something to say, but he was content just be listening to the organizers speak. Brown was amazed with what he was hearing and influenced by their words of liberty. Brown would later get home and discuss some things with Ed that he agreed and didn't agree on.
The following summer SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee) helped organize the Mississippi Summer Project in Holmes County. This was the summer when James Chaney, Michael Schwerner, and Andrew Goodman were murder by the Klu Klux Klan on Rock Cut Road. Brown went along to Holmes County with other members of the SNCC to help for about four weeks, and returned back to Washington, D.C. Brown decided not to return to school in the fall, so he left Mississippi early to go find a job within the Washington, D.C. area.
In the fall of 1964 after the MFDP (Mississippi Freedom Democratic Project), Brown returned back to Washington, D.C. and found work as a librarian working in the United States Department of Agriculture. Brown got the job through a friend of his that also worked there, but Brown knew the job wasn't going to last very long. Whenever he could Brown would frequently commute back and fourth from Washington, D.C. to Atlanta, GA to SNCCs national office; taking whatever chance he could to get out of town.
"I ain't never been the too hip on punching time clocks and going through all them kind of changes, so anytime I could get leave- sick leave, bathroom leave, and any kind of leave- I'd leave. I'd split to Atlanta where SNCC's national office is. I was just about commuting between Atlanta and D.C., I took so much leave."
During the entire fall of 1964, Brown was working with the students of Howard University that were apart of NAG; Brown was eventually elected chairman even though he never attended Howard. As chairman of NAG, Rap's primary objective was to ease the tension and unite the brothers on the block with the privileged Black college students.
Brown later got drafted by the U.S. military, and to prevent from furthering entering the draft Brown immediately began to cause havoc as soon as he got to Baltimore to begin his physical. Brown would not cooperate with the doctors, and he would even pick fights with the staff Sergeants. Fed up with Rap's crazy antics, the army eventually rejected Brown to take part as military personnel. After returning from the military, Brown got a job working as a neighborhood worker for an anti-poverty program in D.C.
In 1966, Rap was appointed as Director of the Greene County project in Alabama for SNCC and was responsible for organizing projects in the State of Alabama. Law enforcement agencies were immediately monitoring his activities and leveled several infractions against him, especially during times of county and state elections. Rap was instrumental in organizing the Black vote.
In May of 1967, Rap was elected Chairman of SNCC, succeeding Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Toure). During Carmichaels chairmanship, the SNCC moved from a philosophy of nonviolence to that of Black Power, by encouraging African-Americans to move to other forms of political and cultural empowerment. Newsweek Magazine described Rap as: A disenchanted ex-poverty worker who affects sunglasses indoors and out, a droopy mustache, a bushy natural coif and a curdled view of the white world He preaches armed eye-for-an-eye self-defense for Negroes and packs a 12-gauge cracker gun in his own words.
On July 24, 1967, Rap was invited by a local civil rights group to address a rally in Cambridge, Maryland. Rap urged a crowd of about 400 people to fight fire with fire. Black folk built America, and if America dont come around, were going to burn American down Immediately following his speech, and while walking with a group down Race Street, Brown received a gunshot wound to his forehead as local police officers fired shots into the group of Black community residents. About four hours later after Brown left the state, the Pine Street Elementary School burned. This school had burned down twice before, and was a shell at the time of the July 24th burning.
Brown was treated for the gunshot wound to his head immediately after being shot, and later prepared his self for a drive to Washington, DC. The police followed his vehicle to the Maryland state line and watched him leave the state. A fugitive warrant was issued, and then translated into a federal warranta descendant of the Fugitive Slave Law. The United States Attorney issued the federal warrant, and Brown was charged with counseling to arson, and inciting to arson and riot.
On July 25, 1967, the FBI made arrangements with Attorney William M. Kunstler to have Brown surrender to the FBI in lower Manhattan, at 11:00 a.m. on July 26th. The following day while en route to his prearranged time and place, the FBI was at National Airport in Virginia and arrested Brown. Brown was taken to Alexandria, VA, released by the federal authorities, but arrested again by Alexandria, Virginia police officials. Brown was released on a $10,000 bail.
On August 1, 1967, Brown was arrested in Dayton, Ohio and charged with advocating criminal syndicalism (no indictment was pressed).
On August 14, 1967 while traveling to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, from New York City to visit his parents. During his travel, Brown carried a rifle and properly checked it in with the airline authorities. After returning back to New York City on August 18th, Brown was arrested in the early morning hours of 2:00 a.m. on the 19th. Charged with two violations of the Federal Firearms Act, which makes it unlawful for any person who is under indictment for a crime punishable for a term exceeding one year to ship, transport in interstate or foreign commerce any firearm or ammunition (new charge was based on the August 14 indictment; the Maryland arson charge carried an imprisonment term of more than one year.)
Brown was taken to New Orleans, and bail was set at $25,000. It later was reduced to $15,000 and Brown was released with a bond restriction confining him to the Southern District of new YorkManhattan, Bronx, and nine counties within Westchester jurisdiction. The District Court stipulated that Brown could only travel when permitted by the court at its discretion.
January 11, 1968, Brown was charged with intimidating/assaulting a New York City police officer as he and another SNCC worker were leaving the lobby of the Cuban Mission. The incident occurred after the officer inquired about a package the SNCC worker was carrying. Brown remained in the Embassy for hours while his attorneys held conversations with the NYPD. The charge finally was dropped in the following month of February.
Between the days of February 18-20, 1968, Brown traveled to California to talk with his attorneys. While in California, Brown was invited to speak at a Black Panther rally and did so with his attorneys present. Brown and Carmichael were made honorary officers of the Black Panther Party, and Brown received the position of Minister of Justice. Upon returning back to New York City on Feb 20th, Brown was arrested approximately seven hours later. He was charged with violating the terms of his previous bond, which restricted him to the Southern District of New York. Browns attorneys argued that the trips to talk with his attorneys were allowed by the court. Brown was released in New York and required to appear in New Orleans the following day.
On February 21st, Brown appeared before Judge Lansing Mitchell and bail was set at $50,000. During the court recess, Brown was charged with threatening an FBI agent in the court hallway. Witnesses took the stand in Browns behalf describing the incident; however, the judge, a former FBI agent, set a $50,000 bail on that charge and Brown was jailed on a total of $100,000 bail.
While Brown was in New Orleans Parish prison, April 11th, 1968, the Rap Brown Federal Anti-Riot Act was passed. The legislation passed the Act several days after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and was tagged onto a fair housing law at the last minute by Strom Thurmond. Brown remained in Parish Prison, fasting a total of 48 days, until April 19th, when the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals finally reduced bail from $100,000 to a total of $30,000: $15,000 on the travel violation and another $15,000 on the intimidation charge. Bond was posted and Brown was taken directly to Virginia where the judge refused to set bail. Brown waived extradition and was taken immediately to Maryland and released on bond.
Between the time periods of May 13th-22nd, 1968, objections from Browns attorneys, trial on the Federal Firearms charge was held less than a month from Browns release in New Orleans. The jury found Brown innocent of carrying the rifle to New Orleans while under indictment. The government presented news clippings, and television and radio personnel as witnesses whom stated that stories concerning the Maryland indictment were carried during August 16-18, 1967. Judge Lansing Mitchell sentenced Brown to the maximum sentence of five years and a $2,000 fine. Brown continued on the original $15,000 bond, pending appeal. He returned to New York City and was confined to the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York.
August 29th, 1968, the New York Times reported that the Republican Party leader of the House, Gerald Ford of Michigan, stated it was time to slam the door on H. Rap Brown and other Black power advocates. Gerald Ford and Everett McKinley Dirksen of Illinois cited Republican backing of the House-passed anti-riot bill. Ford maintained that the anti-riot bill could be used against Brown, while Dirksen felt there were existing laws on the books that could be used against him also. On April 3rd, the U.S. Court of Appeals vacated Browns five-year sentence on the technical firearms charge for the 5th Circuit and the matter remanded to the District Court for an electronic surveillance hearing.
Die Nigger Die! is the fiery title of Browns autobiography. In it, he explains how even in his youth, he developed a sense of outrage over racial injustice and was always arguing with teachers about prejudice in the works of white writers, for instance.
Almost three yeas after the Cambridge, Maryland incident, on March 9th, 1970, the state of Maryland selected Bel Air, Maryland, as the site for Browns trial on counseling and inciting to arson and riot. Pre-trial hearings were scheduled over the objections of Browns attorneys. During the morning hours, a car carrying two SNCC organizers, Ralph Featherstone and William Payne, exploded; both men were killed. The following day Brown failed to appear for the hearing in Bel Air, Maryland. On April 20, the trial was changed for Ellicott City, Maryland. Brown did not appear for that trial also.
On May 6th, 1970, Brown was placed on the FBIs ten most wanted list. Hearing on wiretap issues was held in New Orleans, Louisiana. The court ruled that all wiretap material was irrelevant to the Federal Firearms indictment, conviction, and sentence.
During Browns absence, on September 24th, 1970, Judge Lansing Mitchell imposed another maximum sentenced of five years and $2,000 fine. On January 11, 1971, reporter Robert Woodward revealed that Dorchester County states attorney, William B. Yates, stated to the Howard County states attorney, Richard J. Kinlein, that the arson charge against Brown was fabricated to insure involvement of the FBI. This arson charge (a felony) also was essential to the Federal Firearms arrest, indictment, and conviction.
On October 16th, 1971, after eluding the FBI for a year and a half, reappearing out of nowhere after seventeen months of being on the run. With three supporters who has joined him, Brown led an attack on a New York City bar that was targeted for its exploitation of the community. A shootout with the police ensued; Brown was shot and beaten on a rooftop on the Westside of New York City by police officers. He subsequently was charged with 24 counts of robbery, attempted murder, and possession of weapons, and was held under a $250,000 bail. A few days later on the 19th, the Maryland State Attorney Richard J. Kinlein, who revealed to Robert Woodward that he was told the Maryland charge against Brown was fabricated, was convicted of contempt of court and fined $350 for making a statement prejudicial to a trial. No action was taken against the prosecutor who admitted the fabrication to Kinlein; however, later the prosecutor, William Yates, denied the allegation.
In 1971 while Brown was in jail, waiting for his trial, he converted to Islam. A fellow prisoner suggested he name himself the trustworthy or Al-Amin in Arabic. Brown adopted the name Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin.
On March 17th, Imam Al-Amin moved to reinstate his appeal on the Federal Firearms conviction. The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals set aside the sentence based on the fact that Judge Lansing Mitchell sentenced Imam Al-Amin in absentia-- an improper act.
June 2nd, 1972, although Imam Al-Amin was recovering from wounds sustained in October 1971, Judge Lansing Mitchell obtained a writ to have Imam Al-Amin moved from New York City, where he was awaiting trial, to New Orleans to be resentenced. Imam Al-Amins attorneys argued fro Judge Lansing Mitchell to reduce the sentence. At the time of sentencing and in 1968, Imam Al-Amin did not have a record of prior
convictions. Mitchell, however, imposed the same sentence of five years and a $2,000 fine, and stipulated that this sentence not to begin until New York released Imam Al-Amin. This was ordered even though Imam Al-Amin was awaiting trial in New York and was electing not to post the $200,000 bail, reduced in February 1972.
On October 23rd, one week before the scheduled start of the New York trial, New York Magazine published an article written by a former Commissioner of the New York City Police Department. The article was an attempt to describe dramatically the events of the morning of October 16, 1971, as told by police officers; it was highly prejudicial to Imam Al-Amin and extremely accurate. The attorney representing the magazine and writer conceded that various sections of the article contained misrepresentations. The District Attorney maintained he had not encouraged the printing of the story and the trial judge refused the defenses motion for dismissal. Imam Al-Amin filed a damaged suit against the magazine, writer, and New York City Police Department.
After preliminary trial hearings in November and December, and after three weeks of selecting a jury, Imam Al-Amin and three other co-defendants finally began their trial in New York on January 15th, 1973.
On March 29, 1973, the jury returned a guilty verdict on six counts of robbery, three counts of assault in the first degree, and two counts of possession of a weapon. The jury remained deadlocked on the three counts of attempted murder, and was dismissed from any further deliberation.
During the month of April of 1973, the government dismissed the 1968 indictment charge that was charging Imam Al-Amin with intimidating an FBI agent; the government was ordered to prosecute or dismiss. Judge Lansing Mitchell excused himself from the hearing the case based on the fact he was a former FBI agent and therefore would be partial. He refused, however, to excuse himself from any hearings on the 1968 Federal Firearms conviction. Imam Al-Amin was sentenced in New York to concurrent terms of 0-15 years on each robbery count, 5 to 15 years on the assault count, and 0-7 years on each weapon count. In September the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals refused to overturn the New Orleans conviction. In the following month of October, Imam Al-Amin filed a brief before the Supreme Court based on the wiretap issue in the New Orleans case. The Supreme Court subsequently rejected to review the case. Justice William O. Douglass dissented. On November 2nd, Imam Al-Amin was transported from Attica Correctional Facility to Baltimore, Maryland, to stand trial on the 1967 charge of inciting a riot and arson.
A couple of days later on November 6th, 1973, the Maryland Prosecutor who admitted the fabrication of the arson charge to Kinlein, announced during preliminary hearings that the sate would not prosecute. Imam Al-Amin was arraigned on a
misdemeanor charge of failing to appear after forfeiture of bond. Imam Al-Amin received the maximum sentence of one- year imprisonment and a $1,000 fine to run concurrently, as of October 16, 1971, with the New York Sentence.
On April 29, 1974, a New Orleans patent attorney wrote William Kunstler stating that prior to the 1968 trial in new Orleans, he overheard the trial judge, Lansing Mitchell, state to a group of friends at a Bar Convention in Biloxi, Mississippi, that since he was just told he would preside over the Rap Brown trial, he wanted to take care of his health so that he could get that nigger. Imam Al-Amins attorneys immediately filed timely emotions challenging the conviction and sentence.
On January 24, 1975, Imam Al-Amin was transported to the New Orleans for a hearing on overturning the 1968 conviction or reducing the five-year maximum sentence based on Mitchells prejudicial pre-trial statement and recently revealed government misconduct (COINTELPRO operation). Another judge heard the argument, believed the patent attorney, and stated that Judge Lansing Mitchell probably made the statement. Months later, however, the judge refused to overturn the conviction or reduce the sentence. The government was forced, at the January 24th hearing, to admit Imam Al-Amin was mentioned as a target in sections of COINTELPRO; the FBI reportedly had a 40,000-page report on Imam Al-Amin. In September, Imam Al-Amins attorneys filed an appeal in New York challenging the New York conviction.
On December 17th, 1975, Imam Al-Amins attorneys filed an appeal on the New Orleans conviction before the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. The appeal raised the validity of the 1968 conviction and sentence based on Judge Lansing Mitchells get that nigger statement and the governments admitted COINTELPRO misconduct. Additional surveillance memos from the U.S. Navy Department were obtained through the Freedom of Information Act and incorporated into the appeal.
On May 13th, 1976, Imam Al-Amins attorneys, William M. Kunstler and Elizabeth Schneider, engaged in oral argument before the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals challenging the 1968 New Orleans conviction and sentence.
On May 28, 1976, the State of New York answered Imam Al-Amins New York appeal, and oral before the Appellate Division was scheduled for June 1976. Later in June, the Appellate Division refused to overturn Browns 1973 New York conviction.
On October 11, 1976, Imam Al-Amin appeared before the New York State Parole Board. He served the five-year minimum sentence ordered by the New York trial judge. Hundreds of letters were sent to the parole board in support of his release. Imam Al-Amin was released. The federal government later dropped the Louisiana charges, and New York permitted Imam Al-Amin to transfer his parole to Atlanta, Georgia.
After three years in various state prisons, Imam Al-Amin won parole in 1976. His total jail and prison time was five years, including two years in jail prior to sentencing. Imam Al-Amin made Hajj (pilgrimage) to Makkah in Saudi Arabia. Following Hajj, Imam Jamil settled in Atlanta, Georgias West End community and established the Community Mosque of Atlanta.
In 1983, Imam Al-Amin National Community is formed. This is a coalition of thirty mosques, which traces its roots to the Dar al-Islam Movement that was founded in Brooklyn in 1963 but dropped this name in 1980 after a split in the organization.
Throughout the 1980s Imam Al-Amin and his community are involved in cleaning out the area of drugs and prostitution.
In 1992, Imam Al-Amins community becomes a member of the Bosnia Task Force, USA. The Bosnia Task Force, USA was the first national alliance of ten Muslim organizations to mobilize support for Bosnia with Abdul Malik Mujahid as its national coordinator.
On August 7, 1995, Imam Al-Amins was arrested in Atlanta by the ATF, FBI, and police officers on a loan to the FBIs counterterrorism task force, on suspicion of aggravated assault on a neighborhood resident, and charged with aggravated assault, and carrying a concealed weapon without a permit. The alleged victim never identified Imam Al-Amins as the aggressor, although city and government agents attempted to pressure him in doing so.
On May 31, 1999, Imam Al-Amin was stopped by a Cobb County police officer while driving in Marietta, Georgia. He was cited and arrested for driving a reported stolen vehicle, and having no proof of insurance. The police officer searched Imam Al-Amin wallet and saw a badge, and without questioning the Imam Al-Amin any further, the officer added the charge of impersonating a police officer. Imam Al-Amin was released on a $10,000 bond. After the arrest, the Imam presented evidence from the mayor of Whitehall, Alabama, to the Cobb County prosecutors office that confirmed Imam Al-Amin's appointment as an auxiliary officer youth in the town of Whitehall, Alabama. In addition, affidavits were submitted that countered the theft by receiving stolen car charge.
On January 28, 2000, Imam Al-Amins Cobb County case was scheduled for trial. A storm caused the Superior Court of Cobb County to experience delays in the calendar calls. Imam Al-Amin did not have legal representation on that day, and Imam Al-Amin received no further notification concerning the case.
Shortly before 10:00 p.m., in the late evening hours two deputies of the Fulton County Sheriffs Department approached Imam Al-Amins store at 1128 Oak Street, Atlanta, Georgia, to serve a bench warrant for the Imam Al-Amins failure to appear in Cobb County for the May 31, 1999 trial. The deputies left the store, after not receiving an answer, and upon their return and stopping an individual, shots were fired. One deputy was pronounced dead on March 17, 2000, and the other deputy remained at Grady Hospital recuperating from gunshots wounds. Although conflicting identification details were given of the assault, none matching those of Imam Al-Amin, the serving deputy purportedly identified Imam Al-Amin. As a result, various state, local, and federal law agencies launched a massive manhunt for Imam Al-Amin; as a result, for the second time in his life he was one of the FBIs ten most wanted.
Four days after the shootings in Atlanta, Imam Al-Amin was found and arrested in Whitehall, Alabama, and subsequently charged with the murder of the one deputy. He was taken to Montgomery, Alabama, where he stayed for one month fighting extradition to Georgia. While in the Montgomery Detention Center, Imam Al-Amin was indicted in Georgia on 13 counts including felony murder, aggravated assault upon a peace officer, obstruction of a law enforcement officer, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and possession of a firearm during a commission of a felony. Imam Al-Amin was remained in Montgomery, Alabama, fighting extradition to Georgia. Alabama attorneys, J. Chestnut, Rose Sanders, and Georgia attorney Musa Dan-Fodi represented him.
On April 16, 2000, during SNCCs 40th Anniversary celebration, the friends and associates of Imam Al-Amin issued the following statement:
We are distressed by the recent arrest of our former chairman and co-worker, Imam Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin, whom we knew as H. Rap Brown. Al-Amin has been charged with the murder of the one Atlanta policeman and wounding of another on Thursday, March 16th of this year.
The officers say they were attempting to serve what authorities described as a `relatively inconsequential arrest warrant on Al-Amin. But we wonder why the Atlanta police would send heavily armed me, wearing flack jackets, into Al-Amins neighborhood at 10 at night to serve such a warrant. Additionally, why were 16 bounty hunters involved in the search for a man whose whereabouts and regular routines were well known.
What most distresses us is that the facts as alleged are so completely out of character of the man we knew. For twenty years our brother has been a serious student of religion, a devout spiritual teacher, and public spirited community leader. Nationally, he is highly regarded by the council on American Islamic Relations, which in 1985 described him as `one of the Muslim communitys leading figures.
We ourselves know him as a principled, compassionate man committed to justice for his people and devoted to the moral welfare of his constituency. Consequently, these allegations are totally contrary to the character of the man we know and greatly respect.
In the Sixties, Rap Brown was hounded by authorities for his militant defense of all forms of black protest. Moreover, five years ago police pressured an Atlanta resident, who later recanted, in identifying Al-Amin as the culprit in a shooting incident. Agents of the FBI, its Domestic Terrorism Task Force, as well as agents of the bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms converged in Atlanta to arrest Al-Amin. In the absence of any evidence, the charges were dropped. There has never been any satisfactory explanation given for the presence and interest of the array of federal forces in a `routine local incident.
In the light of this past incident, the inconsistencies in the accounts of the current case, and our knowledge of his character, we urge a suspension of judgment pending a thorough and complete investigation of the events of March 16.
On April 21, 2000, Imam Al-Amin was moved from Montgomery, Alabama, to Cobb County, Georgia, and placed in the Cobb County Adult Detention Center. Three days later on April 24, Imam Jamil appeared before a Cobb Magistrate who explained the Cobb County charges.
On May 4, 2000, Imam Al-Amin made his first appearance in Fulton County Superior Court. Two Georgia attorneys, Jack Martin and Bruce Harvey, were approved to represent the Imam on the Fulton County charges. The Fulton County district attorney announced that they will be seeking the death penalty, and the attorneys for Imam Al-Amin filed numerous motions.
On May 31, 2000, Imam Al-Amin appeared in Fulton County Superior Court, and among the issues addressed was the violation by Sheriff Barrett of a restrictive order in that she released transmission tapes of one of the deputies calling for help while shots were being fired on the evening of March16, 2000. The Superior Court judge found Sheriff Barrett in constructive contempt of the restrictive order.
In June 2000, Otis Jackson, 26, confesses to killing the police officer. While in a Las Vegas, Nevada jail, he gives possible detail to the shootings that allegedly happen according to Otis. Otis also goes as far as writing Attorney General, Janet Reno, explaining his side of the story and his sorrow for Imam Al-Amin for taking the blame for the murder. While trying to find Otis to question him, Otis later recants and Imam Al-Amins legal defensive team is not informed of it. After being released from the Las Vegas, Nevada, jail, Otis Jackson is disappears and is no longer heard from.
On January 21, 2001, Mayor Johnny Jackson of Whitehall, Alabama, takes Shahada and has become Muslim. Mayor Jacksons acceptance of Islam is administered
by Shaykh Muhammed S. Jara at a former Masjid. The mayor is Imam Al-Amins friend who reportedly gave him the honorary police badge that was used by Atlanta police to accuse Imam Al-Amin of presenting himself as a police officer. This is also the town where Imam Al-Amin was arrested.
In March 2001, an inmate at the Fulton County jail writes a letter alleging that an officer working amongst the inmates has made a threat on the life of Imam Al-Amin. He says that he has a list of names of other inmates who are also witnesses to the threat. The alleged threat and others are becoming more ominous. Prior to his current alleged threat, an officer representing the state spoke the following words to another: he wont make it to trial.
On March 9, 2002, jurors found Imam Al-Amin guilty on all 13 counts that he faced, including murder, felony murder, aggravated assault on a police officer, obstructing a law enforcement officer and possession of a firearmn by a convicted felon.
Imam Al-Amin is currently appealing the covictions of the 2002 murder allegations.
Information to form this timeline was received from: ImamJamil.com, "Die Nigger Die" The Autobiography of H. Rap Brown, and various sources provided by the Brown/Al-Amin family.