The New Black Panther Party (NBPP) and New Black Liberation Militia (NBLM) are planning an armed rally in Sanford, Fla. later this month, Hatewatch has learned.
Speaking via phone from Jacksonville, where his group was holding a press conference with NBPP area spokesman Mikhail Muhammad, NBLM head Minister Prince Najee Shaka Muhammad today told Hatewatch that the armed rally, planned for April 21, is part of a crusade to obtain “justice” for Trayvon Martin, the black teenager whose shooting death in Sanford at the hands of a neighborhood watch volunteer has caused waves of outrage across America.
His hope is that today’s press conference will help mobilize “our people,” with the intent of “building up a black army and black militia” to “protect” the black community from aggression by “white supremacists” – which is, he said, “a trend.” Major topics of discussion at today’s gathering, he said, were the arrests yesterday of two white men in connection with a deadly and apparently racially motivated shooting spree that left three black people dead and two injured in Tulsa, Okla., and the neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement’s (NSM) announcement that it planned to undertake patrols of Sanford. (Such patrols reportedly have not yet taken place.)
Jacksonville may not the only place where black separatists are rallying. According to a flyer posted on the Facebook page of Tampa NBPP chapter president Clarence Steven Jones (who also goes by “Ali Muhammad”), NPBB National Chair Malik Zulu Shabazz was to speak today at noon at an undisclosed location in the Tampa area. Both the Tampa and Jacksonville events are connected by last week’s announcement that today was to be a day of “action and absence” to “demand the arrest of George Zimmerman for the murder and racial profiling hate crime of Trayvon Martin.” (The shooting has not been declared a hate crime or even a crime at all – Zimmerman claimed self-defense and an investigation into allegations that he acted unlawfully is still under way.)
The NBPP and NBLM have been front and center among the many outsiders vying for the spotlight in the wake of Martin’s death in Sanford. As of late March, the NBPP was offering a $10,000 reward for Zimmerman’s “capture,” while the NBLM has announced plans to undertake a “citizen’s arrest” of Zimmerman.
NBPP had reportedly planned to conduct “self-defense” training for blacks in the Sanford area on the evening of April 7, but in an E-mail to Hatewatch, Sanford police said there were no reports confirming such activity.
Spokesmen for both NBPP and NBLM told Hatewatch they think Zimmerman was getting special treatment because his father is a former judge who is reportedly Jewish.
They also said they were not interested violence or vigilantism – denials which rang hollow in light of words like these, from Mikhail Muhammad to Hatewatch: “If you don’t do justice by the people, eventually people take justice into their own hands. … We live in a society where you either use the laws fairly and squarely or there aren’t going to be any laws that will be respected.”
The NBLM’s Najee Muhammad, a former NBPP “National Field Marshall” who told Hatewatch he founded the NBLM in 2010 because he felt constrained by the NBPP’s restrictions on military displays, was blunter. “When I found out about the [Jewish] background of that [Zimmerman] family, I said, ‘Uh-oh, ain’t nothing going to happen to that family unless we do it.’”
The militia leader, who bragged about “rolling” with members of the Crips and the Bloods and “rumbling” with police as a teen, grew up in Cleveland among radical black militants, many of them members of the Nation of Islam (NOI), a black separatist hate group whose rhetoric today is positively mild compared to that of the NBPP. He reminisced fondly about his father’s brother “Uncle Ahmed,” better known as Fred Evans, a black militant who died in jail after famously leading the “Glenville Shootout,” a 1968 Cleveland sniper attack on police that left several dead and caused a 5-day riot that the neighborhood in ruins.
Asked if he wanted to see another such event, Najee Muhammad equivocated. Insisting he respects authority and would not personally instigate violence, he said, “Uprising is going to happen by the nature of the cause.”