CNN contributor in hot water for praising ‘cop killer’ Assata Shakur as ‘freedom fighter’

CNN contributor in hot water for praising ‘cop killer’ Assata Shakur as ‘freedom fighter’
CNN commentator Marc Lamont Hill is facing a torrent of criticism over an Instagram post praising Assata Shakur — who was convicted of killing a police officer in 1977 — as “one of our most treasured freedom fighters.”

The Temple University professor and CNN contributor posted a photograph of Shakur on her 71st birthday, writing that he was praying for her “continued safety and protection” and said that reading her books had changed his life.

Shakur, a New York native, escaped from prison in 1979 where she was serving a life sentence for killing a New Jersey State Trooper during a shootout between the Black Liberation Army (BLA) and the police after a traffic stop allegedly for driving with a faulty tail light. With help from the BLA, she then fled to Cuba where she has been living as a fugitive for more than 30 years. Her supporters believe she was wrongfully convicted and was targeted by the police.

In 2013, the FBI placed Shakur, whose real name is Joanne Chesimard, on its list of top 10 most-wanted terrorists with an award of up to $2 million for her capture, saying that she “continues to maintain and promote her terrorist ideology” providing anti-US government speeches and “espousing the Black Liberation Army’s message of revolution and terrorism.”

Unsurprisingly, Hill’s praise of Shakur attracted a wave of criticism on Instagram and Twitter, with some accusing him of celebrating “cop killers” and expressing disgust at the idea of holding up a “terrorist” and “murderer” as a hero.

But some were supportive of Hill and called Shakur a “brilliant revolutionary” and a “hero and a national treasure” and said there was “no concrete evidence” that she had killed the officer.

Despite the flood of criticism, Hill later doubled down on his original post and clarified that he wasn’t supporting Shakur’s alleged crimes, but arguing that she was innocent of committing them.