With Barack Obama’s renewed attempt at opening channels with Cuba, many are wondering what America got out of the deal.
The hope for the extradition of convicted cop killer JoAnne Chesimard would be a great start. The former Black Panther, now 67, was pulled over in 1973, along with two others on the New Jersey Turnpike, by State Trooper Werner Foerster. Chesimard managed to get Foester’s sidearm and shoot him twice in the head. She was sentenced to life in prison but escaped to Cuba in 1979, where Fidel Castro granted her political asylum.
According to the NY Daily News, “Three BLA [Black Liberation Army] members helped Chesimard make a dramatic escape from Clinton Correctional Facility for Women, taking guards as hostages and driving away in a prison van. She appeared in Cuba five years later using the name Assata Shakur, penned an autobiography and prevailed in a 1998 extradition attempt.”
Now people are clamoring for her return.
“We view any changes in relations with Cuba as an opportunity to bring her back to the United States to finish her sentence for the murder of New Jersey State Trooper Werner Foerster in 1973,” State Police Col. Rick Fuentes said in a statement. “We stand by the reward money and hope that the total of $2 million will prompt fresh information in the light of this altered international relationship.”
Surprisingly, the FBI only placed her on their Most Wanted List in 2013 and upped the reward money, doubling it to $2 million.
“We continue to work closely with the FBI towards the capture of JoAnne Chesimard, a convicted felon and fugitive who escaped from jail in 1979 and remains on the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists list, as well as New Jersey’s Most Wanted List,” Fuentes said.
The special agent in charge of the FBI’s Newark office believes that with the new changes, justice can be served no matter how long it takes.
“As long as there is an active warrant for … Chesimard, the FBI will continue to pursue justice, regardless of how long it takes, and are hopeful any changes in relations between the United States and Cuba, will assist us with her apprehension and return,” Aaron Ford told NJ.com.