Alabama police arrest former Black Panther

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The Independent US

A former Black Panther leader wanted in the fatal shooting of an Atlanta sheriff's deputy was captured in Alabama after he was spotted in a rural shed by federal marshals, began firing at them and fled, authorities said.

Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin, once known as H. Rap Brown, was arrested Monday in Alabama's Lowndes County, west of Montgomery, FBI agent Theodore Jackson said.

Authorities used tracking dogs and a helicopter as they closed in on him, Atlanta Police Chief Beverly Harvard said at a Monday night news conference.

Al-Amin was scheduled to make a court appearance in Montgomery on Tuesday and expected to be returned to Atlanta.

Jackson said Al-Amin was spotted about 6:30 p.m. Monday and was arrested about three hours later in Autaugaville, Alabama.

Al-Amin was seen peering out from a shed, and he immediately began firing shots at the team of U.S. marshals who found him, Jackson said. He ran from the shed into nearby woods with marshals chasing him. Jackson said shots were fired on several occasions during the pursuit. He said federal and state agents circled him, then released dogs into the area. Within moments, Al-Amin was arrested, uninjured.

Al-Amin, 56, is accused of fatally shooting deputy Ricky Kinchen and wounding deputy Aldranon English in a shootout in Atlanta Thursday night. Montgomery is about 160 miles southwest of Atlanta. The deputies were trying to serve Al-Amin with an arrest warrant at his store.

The warrant was issued after Al-Amin failed to appear in court in January on charges of theft by receiving stolen property and impersonating an officer. Those charges stemmed from an incident last May, in which Al-Amin was allegedly stopped in a stolen car and flashed a badge.

The deputies did not know he was the former Black Panther militant known as H. Rap Brown.

As the deputies approached a black Mercedes-Benz, the driver got out and started shooting a high-powered assault rifle. English identified the shooter as Al-Amin.

A coalition of national Islamic groups had urged the ex-Black Panther to turn himself in.

In the 1960s, Al-Amin became nationally known as a leader of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, a civil rights group which campaigned to end racial discrimination in the southern states. He later served as justice minister of the Black Panthers. He once exhorted blacks to arm themselves, saying, "Violence is as American as cherry pie."

In 1967, he was charged with inciting a riot in Cambridge, Maryland, where he had told about 400 blacks: "It's time for Cambridge to explode, baby. Black folks built America, and if America don't come around, we're going to burn America down."

After the rally, shots were fired between blacks and whites. Al-Amin was wounded in the forehead by a shotgun pellet, and a white police officer was shot in the neck, face and hand. No one was killed. The next morning, a school and two city blocks burned.

In 1995, he was accused of aggravated assault after a man claimed he was shot by Al-Amin. The man later recanted and said he was pressured by authorities to identify Al-Amin as the shooter.

Al-Amin went to Atlanta in 1976 after converting to Islam while serving five years in prison for his role in a robbery that ended in a shootout with New York police. In recent years, he has been the spiritual leader of a mosque and operated a small grocery in Atlanta's West End.