New Jersey's 25th Legislative District

Senator Anthony M. Bucco

Senator Anthony M. Bucco

Bucco: Trooper’s Killer Should Serve Full Life Sentence

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Showed No Compassion When He Executed Wounded Officer

Convicted cop killer Sundiata Acoli is serving a life sentence for killing a New Jersey State Trooper, and Senator Anthony M. Bucco wants to see him remain behind bars.

Convicted cop killer Sundiata Acoli is serving a life sentence for killing a New Jersey State Trooper, and Senator Anthony M. Bucco wants to see him remain behind bars. (Flickr)

A member of the violent Black Liberation Army (BLA), Acoli and long-time fugitive Joanne Chesimard were convicted of first-degree murder of Trooper Werner Foerster in a bloody shootout on the New Jersey Turnpike on May 2, 1973.

Acoli received a life sentence for wounding, then disarming Foerster and executing him with his own service weapon. Now 85 years old and suffering from health complications, Acoli is receiving support from at least one clergyman and a newspaper columnist who would like to see him receive a compassionate release.

“The moral argument begins and ends when Acoli heartlessly and needlessly executed an already seriously injured Trooper with a shot to the head,” said Bucco (R-25). “This cold-blooded killer deserves no more compassion than he showed for Trooper Foerster.”

On the tragic day, three BLA “soldiers” were traveling on the Turnpike near Rutgers University. The driver, Acoli, was accompanied by Chesimard, who had taken the name Assata Shakur, and Zayd Malik Shakur.

They were heavily armed when they were pulled over for speeding by Trooper James Harper, who was soon joined for backed up by Trooper Foerster.

After Foerster removed a semi-automatic handgun from the vehicle, shooting started with Chesimard wounding Harper and Acoli striking Foerster in the torso. The fatally injured Trooper also took several rounds to the chest before he was executed, all three BLA members were struck, and Zayd Malik Shakur died at the scene.

“This was a car full of terrorists, armed to the teeth and they didn’t care who they shot or killed,” Bucco said. “It is ridiculous to even consider letting this man out early. Actions have consequences. His callous actions not only stole the life of an upstanding young man but inalterably changed the world for his family, friends, and colleagues.

“When you kill a police officer you should not expect to be back on the streets, regardless of age.”

Chesimard, determined to have fired the first shots in the altercation, was also convicted but escaped from prison and traveled to Cuba where she granted asylum. One of the FBI’s most wanted terrorists, she continues to reside on the island with a $2 million award posted for her capture.

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