NJEA Meeting Featured Convicted Cop Killer’s Alliance Member as Guest Speaker

The New Jersey Education Association today is under fire after promoting TJ Whittaker of the Sundiata Acoli Alliance as a guest moderator and keynote speaker in their NJEA Radical Imagination Summit for Educators held on Wednesday.

“NJEA Conference featured Moderator? This has to be a misprint,” said the Former Troopers Association of New Jersey. “Special Keynote Panelists TJ Whittaker (Sundiata Acoli Alliance) Guest Moderator. For those not familiar with the name: Sundiata Acoli is a former member of the Black Panther Party and the Black Liberation Army. He was sentenced to life in prison in 1974 for murdering a New Jersey state trooper.”

Sundiata Acoli is a former member of the Black Panther Party and Black Liberation Party who is serving a life sentence in prison for the 1974 murder of a New Jersey State Trooper.

The Sundiata Acoli Alliance has engaged in efforts to pressure New Jersey officials to release Avoli from prison. On September 29, 2014, a New Jersey state appeals court officially granted Acoli’s request for parole, though the state of New Jersey appealed this ruling. A higher court reversed this ruling in February 2017. On November 21, 2017, the appeals board denied parole, and Acoli will not be eligible to apply again until 2032 when he will be 94 years old.

On May 2, 1973, Acoli and his accomplices JoAnne Chesimard and Zayd Shakur were stopped by New Jersey State Troopers. They later engaged in a gun shootout on the New Jersey Turnpike in East Brunswick with New Jersey State Troopers Werner Foerester and Trooper James Harper.

Trooper Foerester was twice in the head with his own gun and killed. Zayd Shakur was also killed in the exchange. Chsessimar and Trooper Harper were both shot.

“According to initial police statements, at this point one or more of the suspects began firing with automatic handguns and Trooper Foerster fired four times before falling mortally wounded. At Acoli’s trial, Harper testified that the gunfight started “seconds” after Foerster arrived at the scene. At this trial, Harper said that Foerster reached into the vehicle, pulled out and held up an automatic pistol and ammunition magazine, and said “Jim, look what I found”, while facing Harper at the rear of the vehicle.

At this point, Assata Shakur and Zayd Shakur were ordered to put their hands on their laps and not to move; Harper said that Assata Shakur then reached down to the right of her right leg, pulled out a pistol, and shot him in the shoulder, after which he retreated to behind his vehicle.

Questioned by prosecutor C. Judson Hamlin, Harper said he saw Foerster shot just as Assata Shakur was felled by bullets from Harper’s gun.

Harper testified that Acoli shot Foerster with a .38 caliber automatic pistol and then used Foerster’s own gun to “execute him”.

According to the testimony of State Police investigators, two jammed semi-automatic pistols were discovered near Foerster’s body.


On November 2nd, 1979, Chesimard escaped prison while lodged in the Clinton Correctional Facility in Newark by members of the Black Liberation Party. She is now living in political asylum in Cuba.

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