• Mutulu has not accepted responsibility for the crimes of which he was convicted. However, Mutulu has clearly stated to the Parole Commission: “I accept full responsibility for the crimes involved in my conviction over thirty years ago. I was part of the conspiracy that resulted in those crimes and I deeply regret the loss of life involved … I have for several decades totally rejected the use of violence.”
In the Post Hearing Assessment completed after Dr. Shakur’s August 6th parole hearing the Hearing Examiner states that “the subject’s lack of acceptance of responsibility, coupled with his statements in his online activity do create a likelihood he will commit a future crime.” Post Hearing Assessment at 11. The April 20, 2016 Notice of Action denying parole similarly states: “[Dr. Shakur] take[s] no responsibility for the crimes for which [he was] convicted …” Notice of Action at 1. This is a quote lifted from page 9 of the Hearing Examiner’s assessment. These conclusions display a disregard or abysmal ignorance of the record in this case. Dr. Shakur has expressed his deep remorse for the deaths and accepted responsibility for the actions taken by everyone convicted of the conspiracy charged in the indictment.
If the Commission possesses evidence that Dr. Shakur is being untruthful when he accepts responsibility for the underlying crimes, then it should say so and explain the basis for its conclusion. But neither the operative federal law and regulations or the Fifth Amendment’s due process and equal protection guarantees permit the Commission to ignore the record and reach conclusions that not only have no support in the record, but contradict the available evidence in the record.
• Mutulu often signs off his letters with the words “Stiff Resistance” and this indicates he may once again engage in violent crimes if released. Mutulu responds that the sign off “Stiff Resistance” is intended to convey a message of resistance to injustice, discrimination, gang recruitment, etc. and is in no way intended as an incitement to anti-Government violence. It means to never give up, to be true to your beliefs, to be true to yourself even when the odds are against you.
The April 20, 2016 Notice of Action lifts language from the Hearing Examiner’s assessment on Dr. Shakur’s use of the term “Stiff Resistance” to deny parole: “The Commission not only finds these statements incompatible with the goals and conditions of parole supervision, but also concludes they are evidence that you have not disavowed yourself from the same set of beliefs you had when you were convicted …” Notice of Action at 1. This conclusion completely ignores the consistent and oft-repeated post-conviction statements Dr. Shakur has made to his family, friends, supporters and the Parole Commission that he fully and unequivocally rejects violence as a means of social change.
As Dr. Shakur has explained:
My salutation “stiff resistance” purpose has been to serve as a reminder and to fortify an individual’s character and resolve in the face of their specific challenges. The objective of “stiff resistance” is now and has always been about the quality of life. I have never intended its use to encourage criminality or terrorism, to target the government.
Mutulu Shakur Statement, dated April 7, 2016.
• Mutulu has referred to himself as a “political prisoner” and this shows he is likely to commit violent crimes if released on parole. Mutulu responds that the crimes of which he was convicted were “politically motivated,” not motivated by greed or revenge. The indictment and the trial judge both acknowledge the political motivations of those charged in the indictment. It is in this sense that he has referred to himself (and others refer to him) as a political prisoner.
Dr. Shakur has respected every stage of the criminal justice process throughout 30 years of litigation and incarceration. He has never argued that his conviction is “political” in nature. Indeed, as the Court of Appeals noted in this case: “In their joint appeal, Shakur and [Marilyn] Buck do not contend that the evidence against them was insufficient to establish their guilt [of the crimes for which they were convicted.]” United States v. Shakur, 888 F.2d 234, 236 (2d Cir. 1989).
Dr. Shakur has referred to himself as a “political” prisoner only because the activities in which he engaged leading up to his conviction were motivated by political beliefs. No one should be forced to spend needless time in prison after being fully rehabilitated simply because they have referred to themselves as a political prisoner. As stated above, Dr. Shakur early on accepted his conviction and has attempted to serve his time honorably and with integrity. He never appealed the substance of his conviction but he also has never modified his accurate observation that the underlying crimes in this case were not motivated by greed or revenge bur rather were politically motivated. Dr. Shakur has never argued that this is any way justifies the crimes.
• Mutulu has referred to himself as a victim of the FBI’s former COINTELPRO infiltration and spying program and this shows he is likely to reoffend if released. In fact, documents released many years ago under the Freedom of Information Act show that Mutulu clearly was a victim of the COINTELPRO program and the trial judge so acknowledged in several written decisions.
In 2016 Dr. Shakur was denied release in part because he has referred to himself as a “victim of the government’s counter-intelligence program” and this, according to the Parole Commission, indicates he is not rehabilitated and is likely to commit crimes if released. Despite it being in the record, the Commission seems to be entirely unaware that trial Judge Haight, Jr. stated clearly in this case that documents obtained under the FOIA “demonstrate that for a considerable time Shakur …[has] been the subject of illegal surveillance, harassment, and disinformation by the FBI as part of that lamented, unconstitutional project known as COINTELPRO.” United States v. Shakur, 1988 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 2762, pp. 16-17 (F, 1988).
• In 2013 Mutulu violated a prison rule by telephoning a professor who placed the call on a speaker phone so other faculty and students could listen to Mutulu’s comments. Mutulu responds that he knows of no rule that was violated by the phone call and more importantly his underlying message to the students and faculty was one of pursuing social change through peaceful means.
It is entirely unclear what rule the February 5, 2013 telephone call violated. The facts are not in dispute. On February 5, 2013, at 6:15 PM, Dr. Shakur placed a phone call to university professor Karin Stanford who placed the call on her speaker phone and invited Dr. Shakur to say a few words to a group of students and professors gathered to hear actor/producer Danny Glover speak and screen one of his films. Professor Stanford was on Dr. Shakur’s approved phone call list and had visited him before this phone call.
The February 2013 brief phone call, fully monitored, was the sole basis for rejecting the Parole Commission’s Hearing Examiner’s recommendation that Dr. Shakur be paroled in early 2015. No one has ever explained why any rule was violated or shown that Dr. Shakur or any other inmate has been informed that allowing someone to place his or her phone on a speaker is a rule violation.
Despite Dr. Shakur’s request that the recording of his phone call be preserved for the disciplinary hearing and any appeals, his request was denied and the recording erased even before his hearing was conducted.