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Rap Brown in 1967
Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin (جميل عبد الله الامين; born October 4, 1943, as Hubert Gerold Brown), also known as H. Rap Brown, came to prominence in the 1960s as chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and later the Justice Minister of the Black Panther Party. He is perhaps most famous for his proclamation during that period that "violence is as American as cherry pie", as well as once stating that "If America don't come around, we're gonna burn it down". He is currently serving a life sentence for homicide.

Active years

Brown was born in Baton Rougemarker, Louisianamarker. He became known as H. Rap Brown during the early 1960s. His activism in the civil rights movement included involvement with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), of which he was named chairman in 1967. That same year, he was arrested in Cambridge, Marylandmarker, and charged with inciting to riot as a result of a speech he gave there. He left the SNCC and joined the Black Panthers in 1968.

He appeared on the FBImarker's Ten Most Wanted List after avoiding trial on charges of inciting riot and of carrying a gun across state lines. His attorneys in the gun violation case were civil rights advocate Murphy Bell of Baton Rouge, and the self described "radical lawyer" William Kunstler. He disappeared for 18 months, and then was arrested after a reported shootout with officers. The shootout occurred after what was said to be an attempted robbery of a bar in 1971 in New Yorkmarker.

He spent five years (1971–76) in Attica Prisonmarker after a robbery conviction. While in prison, Brown converted to Islam and changed his name to Jamil Abdullah al-Amin. After his release, he opened a grocery store in Atlantamarker, Georgiamarker and became a Muslim spiritual leader and community activist preaching against drugs and gambling in Atlanta's West Endmarker neighborhood.

He also became the leader of Ummah (see also ummah), "a group of mostly African-American converts to Islam, which seeks to establish a separate Sharia-law-governed state within the United States" according to the FBImarker. On October 28, 2009, FBI agents killed Imam Luqman Ameen Abdullah, leader of the Masjid Al-Haqq mosque in Detroit, Michiganmarker, and representative of the Detroit Muslim community to Ummah, after he fired on FBI officers. Twelve people were charged with felonies, including illegal possession and sale of firearms, mail fraud to obtain the proceeds of arson, theft from interstate shipments, and tampering with motor vehicle identification numbers.

However, the Muslim Alliance in North America (MANA) issued a statement disagreeing with the characterization of the Ummah, and stating that the allegations against Abdullah were "shocking and inconsistent" to those who had worked with him. On November 1, 2009, Mohammad Al-Sahli and Yassir Ali Khan were arrested in Windsor, Canadamarker, in connection with the same felony charges.

2000 arrest and conviction

On March 16, 2000, in Fulton County, Georgiamarker, Sheriff's deputies Ricky Kinchen and Aldranon English went to al-Amin's home to serve an arrest warrant for his failing to appear in court after a citation for speeding, as well as for impersonating a police officer (al-Amin showed the officer his honorary badge, which was given to him by the city for cleaning up the "West End"). After stopping in front of al-Amin's home and determining that nobody was there, they drove away and were passed by a black Mercedes that was heading towards the home. Kinchen (the more senior deputy) watched the suspect vehicle, and turned the car around and drove up to it, stopping nose to nose. English approached the Mercedes and told the occupant to show his hands. The occupant opened fire with a .223 rifle. English ran, but was hit four times. Kinchen was shot with the rifle and a 9 mm handgun. The following day, Kinchen died of his wounds at Grady Memorial Hospitalmarker. English survived his wounds, and identified al-Amin as the shooter from six photos he was shown while recovering in the hospital. Both of the police officers whom Brown was convicted of shooting were African American.

Shortly after the shootout, al-Amin fled to White Hall, Alabamamarker, where he was tracked down by U.S. marshals and arrested by law enforcement officers after a four-day manhunt. Al-Amin was wearing body armor at the time of his arrest, and near his arrest location, officers located a 9mm handgun and .223 rifle. Ballistics testing showed that both weapons were the same guns used to shoot Kinchen and English. Later, his black Mercedes, riddled with bullet holes, was located.

On March 9, 2002, nearly two years after the shooting took place, al-Amin was convicted of 13 criminal charges, including the murder of deputy Kinchen. Four days later, he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. He was sent to Georgia State Prison, the state's maximum security facility near Reidsville, Georgiamarker.

Since his conviction, supporters of al-Amin have asserted that another man, Otis Jackson, who confessed to the shooting (but later recanted), is the real shooter. Also, the police initially believed the shooter was wounded during the gun battle, but al-Amin had no injuries at the time of his arrest. Supporters assert that the investigation and trial were plagued by irregularities, including the suppression of evidence.

At his trial, prosecutors pointed out al-Amin never provided any alibi for his whereabouts at the time of the shootout, nor any explanation as to why he fled the state afterwards. He also did not explain the bullet holes in his car, nor how the weapons used in the shootout were located near him during his arrest. In May 2004, the Georgia Supreme Court unanimously ruled to uphold al-Amin's conviction.

In August 2007, he was transferred from state custody to Federal custody as Georgia officials decided that al-Amin is too high-profile an inmate for the Georgia prison system to handle. He was moved to a Federal transfer facility in Oklahoma pending assignment to a Federal penitentiary. On October 21, 2007, al-Amin was transferred to the ADX Florencemarker supermax prison in Florence, Coloradomarker.


  • Die Nigger Die!: A Political Autobiography, Lawrence Hill Books, 1969
  • Revolution by the Book, 1993

See also


  1. FBI kills leader of radical Muslims; 12 charged Ben Schmitt, Niraj Warikoo and Robin Erb, Detroit Free Press, October 28, 2009
  2. Detroit mosque leader killed in FBI raids, Paul Egan, The Detroit News, October 28, 2009
  3. Eleven Members/Associates of Ummah Charged with Federal Violations United States Department of Justice press release, FBI, October 28, 2009
  4. The FBI Raid and Shooting Death of Imam Luqman Muslim Alliance in North America, October 29, 2009
  5. Radical mosque leader killed in FBI raid Detroit Free Press ongoing coverage including documents and photo galleries
  6. "Georgia Justices Uphold Al-Amin Murder Verdict"

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