Political Prisoner profile: Sundiata Acoli

A New York Black Panther, he endured two years of prison awaiting trial for the Panther 21 Conspiracy Case. He and his comrades were eventually acquitted on all the bogus charges. The case was historic and a classic example of police and government attempting to neutralize organizations by incarcerating their leadership. As a result of this political attack and because of the immense pressure and surveillance from the FBI and local police Sundiata, like many other Panther leaders went “underground.”

On May 2, 1973, Sundiata Acoli and two companions were ambushed and attacked by state troopers on the New Jersey Turnpike. One was wounded and the other was killed. During the gun battle, a state trooper was shot and killed in self-defense. Sundiata was tried in an environment of mass hysteria and convicted, although there was no credible evidence that he killed the trooper or had been involved in the shooting. He was sentenced to thirty years. Sundiata was ordered released on parole by a state appeals court in New Jersey in September 2014 when the court ruled the parole board had “acted arbitrarily and capriciously” when it previously denied him parole. The State of New Jersey has appealed the decision and won in October 2018.

Sundiata Acoli* #39794-066
FCI Cumberland
Post Office Box 1000
Cumberland, Maryland 21501
*Address envelope to Clark Squire

Birthday: January 14

More information: sundiataacolifc.org
Petition for clemency to Governor Murphy
Info was taken from NYC ABC’s Illustrated Guide to Political Prisoners.
More PP addresses here.