Controversy is running rampant in Atlanta's black community and elsewhere, but I can't understand why.
Jamil Al-Amin has been charged with the murder of Fulton County Deputy Ricky Kinchen. Deputy Kinchen, along with Deputy Aldranon English - both officers, by the way, are black - were shot as they tried to serve a warrant on Al-Amin for theft and impersonating an officer in mid-March.
The two deputies went to the quiet West End neighborhood in Atlanta looking for Al-Amin. Al-Amin was also accused of illegal weapons possession in suburban Cobb County. The officers went to Al-Amin's house and store. When they found no one there, they decided to circle the block. When they got back to the house, the officers saw that a dark-colored luxury car had arrived.
They asked the person behind the wheel of the car to show his hands.
"I'll show you my hands," the voice from within the car retorted.
As shots rang out, both officers - who were wearing bulletproof vests - went down.
Early 911 reports said that one of the deputies was heard pleading, "Please don't shoot me any more." Deputy English identified the shooter as Al-Amin.
When news of the shooting was first reported, the case appeared to be yet another unremarkable, albeit senseless, shooting of a law enforcement officer. That is, if any cop shooting can be called "unremarkable."
Al-Amin was then on the run, hiding from the law. The Atlanta Police Department, Fulton County Police, Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the FBI were all in search of him.
Al-Amin had become a fixture in Atlanta's West End Muslim community, and, as a local spiritual leader, is considered largely responsible for cleaning up that neighborhood. He helped to remove drug dealers and other unsavory types from the now-quiet and insular community.
Finally, someone added another piece to put the puzzle of Jamil Al-Amin together. Al-Amin was formerly H. Rap Brown, known historically as the minister of justice for the Black Panther Party in the late 1960s. Brown was convicted and served time in jail after a shootout with federal agents back in 1971.
As H. Rap Brown, Al-Amin captivated Americans back then when he said, "I say violence is necessary. It is as American as cherry pie." Pretty hypocritical coming from a man who once led the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee.
Al-Amin was captured several days after the Atlanta shootings outside Selma, Alabama. He claims he did not shoot the two officers, and that he fled Atlanta in fear for his life at the hands of a "government conspiracy."
Al-Amin's Alabama lawyer, H.L. Chestnut, not only believes him, but is assembling a legal "dream team" to keep Al-Amin from being extradited back to Georgia for prosecution.
Under existing law, Brown, or Al-Amin, as an ex-convict, cannot legally own or posses a firearm. But the law apparently is not enforced. Additionally, in 1995, the Clinton Administration chose not to prosecute Al-Amin on weapons charges stemming from a previous arrest.
Sadly, some elements of the black community seem to be buying into Al-Amin's claim that he was the victim of an elaborate set-up, feeding on long-held conspiracy beliefs and wild theories of secret plots that thrive in black communities nationwide.
We as a people, however, cannot stand by and protect the predators in our world, no matter what the circumstances.
Jamil Al-Amin should be prosecuted and, if convicted, be sentenced to death for the shootings of the two Fulton County deputies and the death of one. The case should be tried without regard for Al-Amin's status in the West End community. His "protectors" should give thought to those men in blue who put their lives on the line each day to protect each and every one of us.
Those who would protect and defend a killer need to take their
collective heads out of the sand and move on. I have.
(Michael King is a member of Project 21 and an Internet and
radio broadcaster in Atlanta, Georgia. He can be reached at [email protected] .)
Note: New Visions Commentaries reflect the views of their author, and not necessarily those of Project 21.
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