Troopers to Obama: Get ‘despicable humans’ like cop-killer Chesimard back from Cuba
The head of the State Troopers Union, in a pointed letter to President Barack Obama Thursday, says Obama should demand Cuba return dozens of "despicable human beings" hiding there from U.S. justice.
Among them is Joanne Chesimard, convicted of killing a New Jersey state trooper in a 1973 gunfight. The Black Panther activist, who also goes by the name Assata Shakur, remains atop the State Police Most Wanted list.
Christopher Burgos, president of the State Troopers Fraternal Association of New Jersey, wrote in the letter to Obama:
"Upon hearing of your planned trip to Cuba and meeting with the Castro regime dictatorship in March of 2016, I must remind you that what has been forgotten by you and your administration, is that dozens and dozens of U.S. fugitives of justice remain harbored in Cuba, given safe haven by this regime."
The language echoes the tone of another letter Burgos sent this week, to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, after United Airlines said it would apply to offer service between global gateways and Havana.
"It appears to me that these fugitive offenders are of no consequence to the White House and business leaders here at home, and that only potential huge profits and the salivating of big revenue by corporate leadership and stockholders is the priority," Burgos wrote in the letter to the Port Authority.
In his letter to Obama, he suggested "perhaps United Airlines or one of the other commercial carriers that are eagerly awaiting profit from anticipated flights to and from Havana could offer to fly these fugitives back to the U.S. as a favor to the American citizens and victims that have been slapped in the face over and over with the conduct of the Castro regime, providing cover for these despicable human beings."
Burgos wrote he had "great disappointment" that Obama had "given the Castro dictatorship priority" while ignoring those who enforce the rule of law at home.
Last summer, a State Department spokesman said American and Cuban diplomats planned to discuss Chesimard's possible return to the United States. No announcement suggesting a return may be happening has followed.
Gov. Chris Christie has been among those calling for the Obama administration to negotiate her return.
Thursday, during a White House Press briefing, Deputy National Security Advisor For Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes Ben Rhodes didn't answer a question about U.S. fugitives receiving asylum in Cuba, TownHall.com reports.
"All I keep hearing from officials at the local and national level is that Cuba doesn't want to discuss her return, that it's off the table, and basically, it's all about the money and economy for all concerned," Burgos wrote in the letter to the Port Authority.
Burgos asked that the Port Authority not permit any flights by United Airlines to or from Cuba.
In 1977, Chesimard was convicted of the first-degree murder of Officer Werner Foerster and of seven other felonies related to the shootout. She escaped from prison in 1979 and fled to Cuba in 1984, where she received political asylum.
Supporters have maintained her innocence. Chesimard in a 1998 interview with WNBC from Havana said she was "shot with my arms in the air, then shot again in the back and left on the ground to die." State Police at the time told the Associated Press she lied about the encounter.
Chesimard is also known by the names Barbara Odoms, Mary Davis, Justine Henderson, Joanne Byron, Josephine Henderson, Assata Shaku and, Joanne Chesterman, according to State Police.