Sundiata Acoli is a 72 year old prisoner at FCI Otisville, NY, who is sentenced to life with the possibility of parole, afflicted with common old age infirmities and has been imprisoned 36 years to date. He was arrested for the May 2nd, 1973 NJTurnpike shooting incident in which he shot no one but merely managed to survive but in which his passenger, Zayd Shakur, and a New Jersey trooper, Werner Foerster, were killed. Another trooper, James Harper, was wounded as was Sundiata’s other passenger, Assata Shakur, who was at the time the object of a nation wide “woman hunt” and she was captured. Sundiata was also wounded, then captured 40 hrs later. Sundiata and both his passengers were members of the Black Panther Party at the time. For those reasons, and because Assata escaped prison long ago, the Parole board has twice denied Sundiata parole claiming he’s likely to commit another crime.
Sundiata has endured some of the harshest treatment a prisoner could experience. Still,he maintains a favorable prison record. He is a talented painter and has written numerous published articles about the prison industrial complex. He is a beloved father, grandfather, brother and elder to many with a rich history of making invaluable contributions to his community.
In the 60’s Sundiata left a promising career at NASA as a computer programmer to travel to the South to help register Blacks to vote. During his activism with the NY Chapter of the Black Panther Party, Sundiata contributed to various programs providing the city of Harlem with community control of schools, tenant control of slum housing, free breakfast for school children, free health care, legal clinics and political education classes. He also worked on community programs against drug dealers and police brutality. Numerous Panthers are still languishing in prison and have repeatedly been denied parole despite clear support for their release.
Sundiata comes up for parole hearing again in Feb. 2010 and people concerned about justice are urged to send letters, cards and signature petitions which expressin effect: 36 years of imprisonment is enough. Sundiata Acoli NJ#54859/Fed#39794-066 has long ago fullfilled all requirements for parole and is too old, infirmed and is highly unlikely to commit another crime so I urge you to release Sundiata Acoli on parole.
As the attorneys will present your letters formally and keep record of the number of letters received, please do not mail them to the Parole Board directly.Instead mail your letters to:
Atty. Florence Morgan
120-46 Queens Blvd.
Kew Gardens, NY 11415.
Letters should be addressed to:
Chairwoman Volette C. Ross
New Jersey State Parole Board
Trenton NJ 08625
To join the Sundiata Acoli Freedom Campaign (SAFC) email list or request additional information, feel free to contact SAFC by email at TheSAFC@gmail.com.