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Joanne Chesimard



Editorial from May, 2003


One Million Dollar Bounty Put on Joanne Chesimard's Head

Click here

On May 2, 1973 New Jersey State Troopers James Harper and Werner Foerster were patrolling the New Jersey Turnpike in the area of East Brunswick. They stopped a car with three occupants.

The Troopers were questioning the occupants when the driver and female passenger suddenly came up with semi-automatic pistols and opened fire. Trooper Foerster was struck twice in the chest, and Trooper Harper was hit in the shoulder. The female then proceeded to take the service weapon from the injured Trooper Foerster’s.  She pointed it at the wounded Trooper and shot him twice in the head, execution style. The thirty-four-year-old trooper with just three years on the road died soon after.  He left a wife and family behind.  Fortunately, Trooper Harper survived.

The three were apprehended a short time later.

In 1977 the female shooter was convicted and sentenced to life plus 26 to 33 years in prison. She was incarcerated in the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women in Hunterdon County. This facility is more commonly known today as Clinton.

On November 2, 1979 in the daylight hours this convicted murderer was serving her time in Clinton when she was taken from her cell to the visitor’s area to meet with four people who had come to see her. It was a setup. The four visitors took a Corrections Officer hostage. They then took a prison driver hostage. Using the hostages, the visitors helped her escape.

She eluded capture for several years until 1986 when she made her way to Cuba.  There she was granted political asylum. She has been there ever since.

Today, this woman goes by the name Assata Shakur.  We know her as Joanne Chesimard.

It’s been seventeen years now. Photos coming out of Cuba show Chesimard to be a smiling, happy, fit, and seemingly well-rested tourist on an extended vacation. Not a care in the world. In fact, she’s even written five books which are carried by major American booksellers such as, Borders, and Barnes and Noble.

The good folks over at the NY Times even found their way to review her book which most definitely boosted sales. "A deftly written book... a spellbinding tale." -New York Times Book Review

On counter-culture websites she is celebrated as a revolutionary. Being the aunt of deceased rapper Tupac Shakur has only furthered her status.

Seventeen years. For seventeen years this excrement has been living on an Island in the Caribbean. Granted, Cuba might not be the first choice for retirement, but chances are with her American fugitive status she has not been bothered too much by the Communist Government.

Several attempts have been made to diplomatically bring Joanne Chesimard back. Some of these were stagnated by our own government. 

In 1998 the US House of Representatives passed a unanimous resolution urging Castro to return Chesimard to the United States. When the vote went to the floor it was worded using the name Joanne Chesimard, not Assata Shakur. After the vote, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D) from California realized that they were one and the same. She immediately wrote a letter to Fidel Castro explaining that she was purposely duped by Republicans. She stated that had she realized that Joanne Chesimard and Assata Shakur were one and the same, she would have voted against the resolution citing her belief that Chesimard was “persecuted as a result of her political beliefs and political affiliations.” “I support the right of all nations to grant political asylum to individuals fleeing political  persecution.”  Excuse my French, but what a piece of shit.

Talk about sending mixed messages. It’s not certain which is scarier; the fact that a United States Congresswoman would be opposed to the extradition of someone who murdered one police officer and wounded another, or the fact that a United States Congresswoman casts her very powerful vote on issues when she is completely unaware of the facts. With this type of contradiction coming from our own government, it is no surprise that Chesimard still basks in the sun.  

Chesimard will be fifty-six years old this July. It has been twenty-four years since she escaped to freedom and seventeen years since she took up new residence in Cuba. There is no investigation left to be done. She has already been convicted and sentenced.

In 2000, we went through the Elian Gonzalez fiasco. Our government followed the law in deciding to return him to Cuba. We respect their law while they don’t respect ours. Did our Government even try to set up a backroom deal to have Chesimard returned? Probably not. What about our Governor, two Senators, and thirteen House Representatives? Is having Chesimard returned on the plate of any of our elected officials?

This is not just a lesson in history. Joanne Chesimard murdered a police officer. She shot and seriously wounded another. Imagine what the scene must have looked like to responding backup officers. Imagine the blood, the cries of pain, the sight of Troopers in uniform crying, the knock at the doors, the families completely losing it upon receiving the news, the chaos at the hospital, the pronouncement, the task of sitting down with the children, and later the funeral.

Joanne Chesimard needs to pay for her crimes. She needs to be brought to justice. As mentioned earlier, some attempts were made several years back, but nothing seems to be going on now. Pressure must be applied to our representatives to re-visit this issue and put it back on the front page. Our Government can work miracles when they want to. We have to make them want to. Joanne Chesimard has been free for twenty-four years. She murdered a police officer! She murdered a police officer! She murdered a police officer!  

If the Government won't take action, then every local in this state should contribute monies to fund a trip to Cuba by family members and Troopers to personally meet with Fidel Castro and plead for her extradition.  

Below is a link to reach the email page for the Governor.  We ask that everyone reading this take the time and drop him a note expressing your outrage and your insistence that action be taken to bring Joanne Chesimard to justice.  Remember too that this tragedy occurred long before Governor McGreevey was in office.   His email page is a bit lengthy, but well worth the time. After all, if it was you on that motor vehicle stop back in 1973 you would want us to to do it for you and your family.


Your Views

Please share your thoughts on all aspects of the Joanne Chesimard issue from observations at the scene to opinions on attempts to get her back.

If you want, you can even send in a copy of the email you sent to the Governor to be posted. 

While all opinions will be considered, we will not post any messages that are inflammatory, that bash any ethnic group or that are clearly of an anti-law enforcement agenda.  


(Most Recent)


June 11, 2003

"Thanks for posting such an informative and important topic. They say "God works in mysterious ways"; at least the low life nephew is no longer among the living. Her time will come and may there be no mercy."


May 9, 2003

       "Hon. Governor McGreevey,

Please accept this as a request that you consider lending your support to the New Jersey State Police and the family of Tpr. Werner Foerster, in their efforts to extradite Joanne Chesimard (AKA:  Assata Shakur) from Cuba. 

Chesimard was convicted of murdering Tpr. Foerster in 1977 and escaped from the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility in 1979.  She has lived in Cuba and has effectively evaded extradition for some time, despite that attempts have been made to effect her capture, by various agencies, since her whereabouts became known.

I am aware that these circumstances existed long before you became the Governor, and it is unfortunate that you must inherit such unpleasant and lingering issues.  I do believe, however, that your support can only positively reinforce the resolve of those seeking to bring Chesimard to Justice. 

I am confident that you, too, will find it unfair that a fugitive cop-killer should enjoy the bountiful life of a celebrated author living her dream while some, on our own shores, struggle simply to exist.

Thank you, Sir, for your valuable time in this matter.  I avail myself to you, at the address above, should any questions or comments arise."

       -NJ LEO

May 8, 2003

    "Honorable Governor McGreevey,

I am writing you to ask for your assistance in a very serious matter that seems to be almost forgotten.

In 1973 New Jersey State Troopers James Harper and Werner Foerster were gunned down by Joanne Chesimard. Trooper Foerster died from his injuries. 

Joanne Chesimard was later sentenced to prison but escaped in 1979. She has been free ever since. All reports indicate that she is now living in Cuba. 

Governor, it has been too long. Joanne Chesimard has had freedom now for 24 years, and it's becoming a forgotten issue. I write to you today to ask that you take this issue on like no Governor has done before. I ask, with all respect, that, if necessary, you go to Cuba to get her back. This is the most important issue to New Jersey's law enforcement community.

New Jersey is facing some tough times. Unfortunately, there is not much in the way of good news that you can share due to our state going through a valley in the economic cycle. And, as there is no great boom on the horizon, this would be an excellent opportunity for you to accomplish something that every Governor since Chesimard's escape could not do. 

Even if you were unsuccessful, your efforts would be most appreciated by myself and every other man and woman who works in the law enforcement field.

I thank you for your time, and I hope to be reading about this issue in the newspaper. If I may be of any assistance with this issue, please use the attached contact information to reach me any time. Thank you again."

          -NJ LEO

May 9, 2003

       "I would think that this is a job for Special Ops. We know that the Cuban government if you want to call it that, will not return her. They did it in Pakistan a few years ago. I think they could do it now."

          -Lt. DJD 


May 3, 2003

      "This is an outrage...this scumbag murders and apparently gets away with it...Don't worry sweetheart, your gonna pay one way or another.  In this life or the next.  Someone at some point is coming for you. I'm sure the officers family's can take some satisfaction knowing that in this world you can run but you can't hide."





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