The former Black Panther once known as H Rap Brown has been convicted of murder and faces a possible death sentence for the killing of a policeman who tried to serve an outstanding warrant on him two years ago.
Brown, now a Muslim cleric known as Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin, was found guilty by a jury of nine blacks, two whites and a Hispanic on all 13 charges that brought him to the trial in Atlanta. The jury agreed unanimously that the defendant pulled a shotgun on two officers who approached him across the street from his Atlanta mosque in March 2000, killing one of them, Deputy Ricky Kinchen, and wounding the other. The court will reconvene today and a decision on the death penalty is likely to be made within a week.
The trial has attracted considerable attention, partly because the defence successfully had it postponed in the wake of 11 September. Mr Al-Amin's lawyers said they were concerned about possible anti-Muslim bias.
In the end, however, the Muslim issue did not seem to play much of a role with the ethnically diverse jury. Al-Amin, who is 58, has a long history of violence, stretching back to his most impassioned activist days in the 1960s and 1970s. He once said using violence to further political ends was as "as American as cherry pie".Reuse content