A bruised and battered Dhoruba bin Wahad (former Richard Moore) and Kalonji Jama Changa held a news conference on August 18 in Atlanta, Georgia, to denounce the New Black Panther Party. The two men and four others were assaulted in an Atlanta hotel ballroom ten days earlier by members of the group. Changa is the coordinator of the Free the People Movement and was leading several of his members in a protest against the New Black Panthers.
Dhoruba served nineteen years in prison for the May 1971 attempted murder in a drive-by shooting of two New York City policemen guarding the home of Manhattan District Attorney Frank Hogan. Dhoruba was released after he obtained exculpatory evidence withheld by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. While in prison, Dhoruba won the release of 300,000 pages of FBI documents including secret COINTELPRO directives.
Operation COINTELPRO was a clandestine and illegal counterintelligence program directed against political activists from 1956 to 1971, under J. Edgar Hoover’s close supervision. Dhoruba’s activism made him a target of the COINTELPRO operation. Dhoruba is one of the few persons who fought COINTELPRO in court and won.
In 1995, Dhoruba was awarded $400,000 by the Federal government. In 2000, Dhoruba was awarded $490,000 by the city of New York.
Many consider Dhoruba an elder statesman of the Black Power movement and he has continued his activism after release from prison. Dhoruba was interviewed by atombash.com last year on his views: “The pitfalls of opportunism and reactionary politics are always present so we can claim no certain victories just yet. It was the racist and deceptive brutality of America’s law enforcement establishment that was deployed against the Civil Rights and Black Power movements of the sixties. COINTELPRO and similar repressive programs carried out by the federal government did not initiate and maintain “racial profiling” and a militarized police presence in African-American communities – it was local police departments and local prosecutorial agencies who did the dirty work of infiltration, disruption of grass root activists and who were responsible for controlling the fires of Black rebellion in America.”
Dhoruba considers the New Black Panthers to be a hate group, heavily infiltrated by the FBI, and serving to divide the black community in a modern-day COINTELPRO operation. On August 8, when the group decided to hold a rally in Atlanta, Dhoruba felt it was his duty, as a former Black Panther and political prisoner, to confront attorney Malik Zulu Shabazz who headed the New Black Panthers until 2014.
A news release from New Afrikan Press International offered initial details. Dhoruba and the others were jumped by two dozen members of the New Black Panthers at the “Power Belongs to the People Conference” where Shabazz was speaking.
According to witnesses, Dhoruba Bin Wahad and the others approached the side of the stage where Shabazz was speaking. Shabazz shouted “Wahad! We’ll deal with you later!” Dhoruba replied “You can deal with me now.”
Shabazz then ordered the group to expel Dhoruba, which attacked the elder activist with chairs breaking Dhoruba’s jaw in three places and leaving him bloody and swollen with bruises. One of the others with Dhoruba was choked unconscious and another received a head wound that required staples. Dhoruba’s injuries required a six-hour operation to repair his broken jaw.
Earlier this year when Dhoruba moved from New York to Atlanta he was beaten by Clayton County Deputy Ryan Hall in May at his home. Hall was fired over the attack, captured on a cell phone camera, and was indicted by a grand jury on July 29.
Dhoruba bin Wahad continues to advocate for political prisoners, particularly aging imprisoned victims of COINTELPRO operations.