A week after reports that Belleville, Illinois police had shot and killed a man in an exchange of gunfire outside of an apartment complex, reports are now surfacing that the man was a member of the National Revolutionary Black Panther Party.
Organization officials confirmed to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that Angelo Brown was also a national officer within the organization, and served as the leader for the local party in St. Louis. He is officially listed as the National Minister of Defense HQ, the highest level of external security and defense in the party.
A release from the Black Panther Party lists Brown’s chosen name as General Minister Houdari Juelani and included a photo of him in uniform as a soldier in the US Army Infantry 02-06 at basic training and A.I.T in Fort Benning, Georgia. They highlighted the fact that he was a family man and father of 13 children.
A glance through the 35-year-old’s social media confirms that Juelani was not only an advocate for the Black Panthers but also for the Second Amendment.
Police were responding to a call of a disturbance before 10:00 p.m Thursday when they saw Juelani running around the building with a gun. Police claim he fired first at them and they shot back, killing him.
Muhammad told the Post-Dispatch that Juelani had a mild-mannered personality and “had enough sense not to be shooting at police officers.” He also mentioned that Juelani said that police had been “harassing” him and ripping up Black Panther flyers as well as threatening him.
“We really believe that this is politically motivated,” Muhammad said. “We honestly see this as the first time since the 1960s or 70s that a Black Panther leader was killed by police.”
Muhammad declared he intends to pursue “every avenue that we can criminally with the U.S. Department of Justice.”
Juelani’s ex-wife agreed with Muhammad’s assessment of her former husband. While she hasn’t talked to him for a few years, she said that shooting a gun at an officer was uncharacteristic of him.
The Revolutionary Black Panther Party also intends to bring 15 to 20 other national representatives to the city to attend Juelani’s funeral and will hold a news conference.
Belleville Master Sgt. Mark Heffernan denied having any contact with Juelani.
In a passionate post on Facebook, Juelani recited part one of a poem he called “Truth Is,” which says in part, “Truth is, instead of killing each other, we should be teaching each other. We should learn from each other.”