Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Man Shot and Killed by Belleville Police Officers Was Revolutionary Black Panther Party Official
By Ashley Jost
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

A man fatally shot by police Thursday night in Belleville fell near a small tree behind Building 5 of the West Pheasantwood Court apartment complex

BELLEVILLE • A man who was shot and killed by Belleville police last week after officers say he fired at them was a member of the National Revolutionary Black Panther Party, organization officials said.

A St. Louis-area resident, Angelo Brown was also a national officer within the organization, and was the leader for the party in St. Louis. Members from across the country are planning a protest over the shooting, but haven’t set a date.

Brown, 35, was killed Thursday in an exchange of gunfire with police outside of an apartment complex, police said.

Belleville police were called to the first block of West Pheasantwood Drive for a disturbance before 10 p.m. When police arrived, Brown ran around the building with a gun, then fired at officers who chased him, police say. Two officers fired back at Brown, killing him, police say.

Dr. Alli Muhammad, founder of the Revolutionary Black Panther Party, said Brown — identified by the party under the name General Minister Houdari Juelani — was a U.S. Army veteran, a father of 13 children and a hard worker, but not a criminal.

Muhammad describes Brown as mild-mannered, saying he “had enough sense not to be shooting at police officers.”

Muhammad said he and 15 to 20 other national representatives from the Revolutionary Black Panther Party are coming to St. Louis for Brown’s funeral Friday, and that he will host a press conference after the event to discuss concerns the party and Brown’s family have about his death.

Family members of Brown could not be reached. An ex-wife told the Post-Dispatch last week that she hadn’t talked to Brown in years, but said shooting a gun at officers would have been out of character when she knew him.

According to Muhammad, Brown said before his death that police in St. Louis and Belleville were “harassing” him, ripping up flyers that he posted and threatening him.

“We really believe that this is politically motivated,” Muhammad said about Brown’s death. “We honestly see this as the first time since the 1960s or 70s that a Black Panther leader was killed by police.”

Belleville Master Sgt. Mark Heffernan said Tuesday that Belleville police “did not have any contact with Brown prior to this incident.”

Muhammad said Revolutionary Black Panther members will return to St. Louis for an upcoming weekend for demonstrations in Brown’s honor. The group doesn’t have an exact date for the protest yet.

“We also plan on pursuing every avenue that we can criminally with the U.S. Department of Justice,” Muhammad said. He said they’re also looking into what civil legal matters can be taken on behalf of Brown’s family.

Brown joined the Revolutionary Black Panther Party a year ago. In addition to being a St. Louis leader, he was also the “national minister of defense,” meaning he kept tabs on any persons or groups “threatening the party,” Muhammad explained.

Sgt. Matt Weller with the Illinois State Police said the investigation into the fatal shooting is ongoing. Once it’s finished, police will confer with the state’s attorney about the case, he said.

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