A Connecticut city councilwoman has apologized for quoting a cop-killing fugitive wanted by the FBI during a meeting on International Women’s Day.
“A revolutionary woman can’t have no reactionary man,” Danielle Wong said, citing Joanne Chesimard, a former member of the Black Liberation Army who was convicted in the first-degree murder of a New Jersey state trooper in 1973.
Wong, a councilwoman in Bloomfield, made the contentious reference to Chesimard, also known as Assata Shakur, during a March 8 council meeting.
Chesimard became the first woman to be named on the FBI’s most-wanted terrorist list when she was added in 2013.
The eyebrow-raising comment prompted Bloomfield’s police chief to send a memo to town manager Phil Schenck regarding Wong’s “perceived celebration,” the Hartford Courant reported Tuesday.
Chesimard is wanted for several felonies, including bank robbery, when she and two accomplices in May 1973 opened fire on New Jersey State Trooper Werner Foerster, killing him.
Chesimard, the godmother of late hip-hop icon Tupac Shakur, was convicted of murder in 1977, but escaped a prison in Clinton, New Jersey, in November 1979 and subsequently surfaced in Cuba in 1984, according to the FBI.
The agency publicized its ongoing hunt for Chesimard in January, offering up to $1 million for tips leading to her apprehension. She’s still believed to be living in Cuba, where she was granted political asylum.
Reached for comment Wednesday, Wong, a Democrat elected in 2019, said she knew Chesimard had a “controversial background,” but insisted she “totally forgot” about the details of her involvement in Foerster’s execution-style slaying.
“It was a basically a misjudgment on my part and I will quote people from now who are not offensive,” Wong told The Post. “She is known as a revolutionary icon and that is the context why I chose to use her quote on International Women’s Day. My intention was not to offend.”
The reference, however, led Bloomfield Police Chief Paul Hammick to request a meeting with Wong, Schenck and Mayor Suzette DeBeatham-Brown over the reference and “growing anti-police sentiment” felt by some cops, the Courant reported.
After meeting with Hammick, Wong also attended a roll call with about 20 officers on Thursday and had a “candid conversation” with them, she said.
“I totally support the police and my police department, but I’ll definitely be more thoughtful moving forward,” Wong said Wednesday. “I do regret quoting someone who offended my police officers, but I did not mean to offend anybody.”
Wong, who said she’s a daughter of Jamaican immigrants and a single mother of two black daughters, said she denounces violence of any kind.
“I totally denounce violence against anybody, including police,” Wong said.
Wong has another meeting planned with Bloomfield cops later this week, she said.
“I said, ‘Look, I am here to hear out your concerns’ and I listened more than anything,” Wong said of the first meeting with Bloomfield cops. “I owned that right away and said that was not my intention to offend. I’m all about accountability.”
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