By Gloria Rubac
It was a people's victory on Nov. 15 in the racist state
district court in Houston when the district attorney failed
to convict New Black Panther Party activist Brother Quanell X
of felony evading-arrest charges.
Last June Brother Quanell was taking a young African American
man accused of shooting a police officer to the police
station. The youth had been the subject of a 2-day manhunt
and terror campaign against the Black community. He was
afraid to turn himself in, so Brother Quanell offered to take
him to the station and had worked out an arrangement with the
police chief, who is African American.
Some white cops got wind of what was happening and entrapped
Brother X as he was on his way to the police station.
A broad citywide coalition, People for Justice, was formed to
support Brother Quanell. The courtroom was packed each day of
the trial. Hundreds and hundreds turned out on the first day,
forcing the court to use concert-type roping to keep the
crowd in a line. Overt racism and hostility dripped from both
district attorneys and also the judge. DA Denise Nassar
compared Brother Quanell to O.J. Simpson. Nassar's husband is
a police homicide detective who had been looking for the
suspect. The judge's father is the sheriff of Houston. There
was only one African American on the jury.
After the victory, Minister Robert Muhammed of the Nation of
Islam Mosque #45 said, "Everyone in Houston knew that Quanell
was innocent and this trial lasting over a week was a waste
of taxpayers' money."
After the trial, Brother Quanell, who was prohibited from
talking to the media during the 6-month ordeal, invited the
community and the media to a celebration at the New Black
Panther Party office. Quanell spoke for the first time.
"This case was bigger than just me. They wanted to teach
other leaders and me a lesson. Many Blacks and also white
people knew that this was wrong. When the common whites see
in the system what our people have experienced for over 400
years, this country will be destroyed not from without but
from within. My case was a small part of bringing about a
realization of the corrupt criminal justice system.
"I wasn't afraid of going to jail. I would have gone in and
organized the brothers and the Hispanics and even the whites
in that jail. The system is now angry and frustrated. They
want to get rid of brothers who are leaders and who stand up
to the system. We're upsetting their world order. Two white
jurors have called me and told me they knew I was innocent
but there were two others that wouldn't listen to reason so
that's why they compromised and convicted me of a misdemeanor
one step above a traffic ticket.
"I thank all of you for your support and this is our