Jalil Muntaqim

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Jalil Muntaqim
Jalil Muntaqim - Voice of Liberation (screenshot).jpg
Muntaqim in 2000
Born
Anthony Jalil Bottom

(1951-10-18) October 18, 1951 (age 68)
OccupationActivist
OrganizationNAACP, Black Panther Party, Black Liberation Army

Jalil Abdul Muntaqim (born Anthony Jalil Bottom on October 18, 1951) is a former member of the Black Panther Party (BPP) and the Black Liberation Army (BLA). In August 1971, he was arrested in California along with Albert “Nuh” Washington and Herman Bell and were charged with the killing of two NYPD police officers, Waverly Jones and Joseph A. Piagentini, in New York City on May 21. In 1974, he was convicted on two counts of first degree murder and sentenced to life imprisonment with possible parole after 22 years. Muntaqim has been the subject of attention for being repeatedly denied parole despite being eligible since 1993. In June 2020, Muntaqim was reportedly sick with Coronavirus disease.[1] He was released from prison on October 7, 2020, after over 49 years of incarceration and 11 parole denials.[2][3]

Early life and political development[edit]

Jalil Muntaqim was born Anthony Jalil Bottom in Oakland, California and grew up in San Francisco. Drawn to the civil rights activism during the 1960s, Muntaqim joined and began organizing for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) during his teenage years. In high school he played an active role in the Black Student Union and was often recruited to play the voice of and engage in “speak outs” on behalf of the organization. He was also involved in street protests against police brutality.[4]

At the age of 18, Muntaqim joined the Black Panther Party after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. King's assassination solidified Muntaqim's beliefs that armed resistance was necessary to combat racism and the oppression of Black individuals in society. While a member of the Black Panther Party, Muntaqim held beliefs which paralleled those of the underground organization, the Black Liberation Army, which focused on radical means of obtaining equality. Its members served as experts in military strategy and were “the essential armed wing of the above-ground political apparatus.”[4]

Arrest and imprisonment[edit]

On August 28, 1971, Muntaqim and Albert “Nuh” Washington were arrested for the alleged attempted murder of a San Francisco police sergeant. New York City police charged Muntaqim, Washington, and another BPP and BLA member, Herman Bell, with the May 21, 1971, killings of two New York City police officers. The shootout came after George Jackson was killed by guards during an escape attempt in San Quentin Prison in 1971, which was the possible substantiation for a motive for retaliation. While Washington died of liver cancer in April 2000, in New York State’s Coxsackie Correctional Facility, Bell and Muntaqim were paroled in 2018[5] and 2020, respectively.

Muntaqim remained politically active throughout his incarceration, writing theoretical texts[6] as well as organizing with activists both inside and outside prison. In 1976, he founded the National Prisoners Campaign to petition the United Nations to recognize the existence of political prisoners in the United States. He was also involved in the National Prisoners Afrikan Studies Project, an organization that educates inmates on their rights.

In July 2009, Muntaqim pleaded no contest to conspiracy to commit voluntary manslaughter becoming the second person to be convicted in the alleged attempted murder case of the San Francisco police sergeant.[7]

Parole and Release[edit]

While abolitionists and organizations within the radical left believe he should be paroled, supporters of the police have forcefully opposed his release. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg recently publicized his opposition to parole Muntaqim. He states: “Anthony Bottom's crime is unforgivable, and its consequences will remain forever with the families of the police officers, as well as the men and women of the New York City Police Department.”[8] Councilman Charles Barron, a self-described black revolutionary, is one of Muntaqim’s active advocates.[9]

Jalil Muntaqim had a hearing with the parole board on November 17, 2009 and was again denied parole. He remained incarcerated at Attica.[10] He was transferred from Attica Correctional Facility to Southport Correctional Facility near Elmira, New York, in early January, 2017.

In June 2020, Muntaqim was reported to be under treatment in a prison hospital for Coronavirus disease. He attempted to gain release based on public health guidance advising the release of medically vulnerable people, but New York state attorney general Letitia James challenged the appeal, and the courts struck down a judge’s order mandating his release.[11] Within a few months, however, the parole board approved him for release, and supporters confirmed that he had finally left prison on October 7.[12]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Jalil Muntaqim should not die in prison". June 1, 2020. Retrieved June 1, 2020.
  2. ^ Harrison, Ishek. "Former Black Liberation Army Activist Granted Parole After 49 Years and Numerous Requests, Impending Release Sparks Backlash".
  3. ^ "The Eleventh Parole Hearing of Jalil Abdul Muntaqim". January 25, 2019. Retrieved March 12, 2019.
  4. ^ a b James, Joy, ed. Imprisoned Intellectuals: America’s Political Prisoners Write on Life, Liberation and Rebellion. 1st edn. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman and Littlefield. 2003.
  5. ^ Law, Victoria (26 February 2019). "Police Unions Fight To Rescind Parole For Former Black Panther". The Appeal. The Justice Collaborative. Retrieved 7 October 2020.
  6. ^ Muntaqim, Jalil (2002). On the Black Liberation Army. Abraham Guillen Press. ISBN 1894925130.
  7. ^ 2nd guilty plea in 1971 killing of S.F. officer (via SFGate)
  8. ^ "Mayor Opposes Parole for Man In 1971 Killings of Two Officers".
  9. ^ "Adding Charm to Revolution; But Some Say Charles Barron Risks Going Too Far".
  10. ^ NY State Inmate locator DIN=77A4283 cut: BOTTOM
  11. ^ "Jalil Muntaqim should not die in prison". June 1, 2020. Retrieved June 1, 2020.
  12. ^ Harrison, Ishek. "Former Black Liberation Army Activist Granted Parole After 49 Years and Numerous Requests, Impending Release Sparks Backlash".

External links[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

Books authored[edit]

  • We Are Our Own Liberators: Selected Prison Writings. Arissa Media Group, 2nd expanded edition 2010. ISBN 978-0974288468
  • Escaping the Prism.. Fade to Black: Poetry and Essays. Kersplebedeb, 2015. ISBN 978-1894946629