On December 18, 1997, Louis “Homicide Lou” Griffin was convicted of murdering an individual in Alabama over a drug dispute. By a vote of 10-2, the jury recommended that Griffin be sentenced to death; he was subsequently sentenced to die in Alabama’s electric chair on January 29, 1998. He appealed the conviction and after serving three years on death row, was given a retrial, and was finally acquitted on December 13, 2001.
Whether the issue, topic, or subject is of revolutionary or political prisoner status, because the government has a way of mischaracterizing such titles, I feel it is best to know a person outside of what you may have read. I, myself have had the pleasure of meeting such a person who the government would prefer to never have to acknowledge or describe as a revolutionary or a political prisoner.
In 1998, I was returned to the United States Penitentiary Atlanta after being given a death sentence. I remember standing in the yard amongst others from the east coast, talking about one thing or another when up walked Dr. Mutulu Shakur.
“We need to get together,” he began to say.
Me being on guard at all times took offense at the aggressive attitude that he had on display. The homies around me must have noticed because of the change in my facial expression at the hurried and abrupt introduction which was the beginning of a welcomed friendship.
“I need to see you down in the law library tonight,” he continued.
So that night the Doctor and I met in the law library where he placed a book in front of me and told me to look through it. There it was laid out in front of me, the address of every lawyer that specialized in capital sentencing appeals. Of all the letters we sent, only one responded and was willing to represent me. The Doctor showed me numerous other cases where the State and Feds had charged for the same crime. One of them, I will never forget, it was Tim McVeigh and Terry Nichols. Every night as the Doctor prescribed, I would go over my trial transcripts, writing things down that I thought could be violations during my trial. Together we went over the issues to see what was appealable, so we could send them to the lawyer. Three years after 2001, three days after 9-11, I was taken back to Alabama for retrial.
Long story short, this is one of the many stories to add to those I personally witnessed, or heard about the Doctor helping others. Whether the story took place in prison, or society, I consider our encounter a blessing from Allah, and a time when friendship and camaraderie was truly needed, a time when life was threatened to be taken away by strapping me in a chair and frying me, a time where so-called friends, and comrades whom I protected and would have given my life for had no regard for me when they took the stand to help get me convicted.
Today I am once again in the company of the Doctor, who was recently denied parole after being down 30 years without a real basis to justify the denial. Though I can’t be of help to him, as he was to me legally, I do write this now in hope “insha Allah,” that the reader will be of some support to society in helping, not only him, but others faced with unjust laws that continue to be enforced.