In 1968, Abdul Majid joined the Black Panther Party, having been previously active with the Grass Roots Advisory Council. Abdul was involved in many of the community-based projects of the BPP including the free health clinic and free breakfast for children program.
After the Party was destroyed by the U.S. government, Abdul continued his political work as a paralegal with Bronx Legal Services. On April 16th, 1981 a van was pulled over by NYPD. Two occupants exited the van and fired upon the cops—one was killed, the other injured. Despite claims by the police that the van was pulled over for connections to burglaries, the folder of “suspects” circulated by the cops exclusively consisted of former Panthers, not burglary suspects. Abdul and his co-defendant, Bashir Hameed were arrested and tried three times. The first trial ended in a hung jury. The second trial was declared a mistrial by the judge immediately after the jury rendered a decision that acquitted Bashir on the murder charge. At a third trial, the state finally got its way —Abdul was convicted of murder and sentenced to 33 years to life.
Abdul is expected to go before the parole board for the first time in 2015.
Queens Two Case
As a direct result of their BPP membership and progressive political views, Bashir and Abdul were hunted, captured, framed and convicted of the 1981 murder and attempted murder of two police officers in St. Albans, Queens. On the night of April 1981, two NYPD officers were fired on by two suspects during a traffic stop. Police claim that the stop in connection with several burglaries, while they also claim the van was pulled over because of its connection to the liberation of Assata Shakur from a New Jersey prison. Regardless of the reason for the stop, the occupants exited the car and opened fire on the police, shooting both officers- killing one and injuring the other. A few days after the shooting, police began circulating a folder of "suspects" which consisted exclusively of former members of the Black Panther Party and their associates. Bashir and Abdul (James York and Anthony LaBorde) were identified in the media as chief suspects and targets of a "shoot to kill" manhunt. Bashir was arrested in August 1981 in South Carolina. Abdul was arrested in Philadelphia in January, 1982 and was brutally beaten by police after his arrest. Over a five-year period, Bashir and Abdul were tried three times for this incident, the main witness being a man who was hypnotized by the police. The first two trials the jury was deadlocked and the government was unable to successfully convict the two panthers. The third trial was presided over by Judge Gallagher (son and brother of a cop). Throughout the trial, cops harassed Abdul and Bashir's family members and supporters. A racially stacked jury in the third trial returned a guilty verdict and sentenced Abdul and Bashir to 33 1/3 years to life. For the past fifteen years, although Abdul and Bashir have been forced to live behind bars, as political prisoners they have continued to challenge injustice. In 1996, Abdul and Bashir¹s lawyers went before the Court of Appeals in Albany, New York. They argued the District Attorneys, in violation of the law, systematically excluded Blacks from the jury. This assertion by the defense team was clearly borne out by District Attorney Gregory Lasak. During a 1992 evidentiary hearing, D.A. Lasak attempted to justify to the Court why Blacks had been excluded by stating that ³These cop-killing revolutionaries had gotten away in two previous trials and this was probably our last chance to get them. We couldn't take the chance of those religious people serving as jurors in this trial.² Predictably, the courts denied their appeal. The government has been very uncooperative about turning over requested documents being sought by me under the Freedom of Information Act. During the three trials there were deliberate acts by law enforcement agencies to hide certain evidence helpful to the defense. Attorneys are still in the process of trying to make law enforcement agencies turn over all evidence in this case. Since their imprisonment repression against the Queens Two has only increased. Abdul Majid been harassed, seriously assaulted twice, and denied proper medical treatment as a result of the assaults. He has been refused certain programs offered to general population because of his political background. Bashir, a devout Muslim has applied his religious and political principals to struggle against injustice and racism behind the walls. As a result of his activities, Bashir has gained the widespread respect of prisoners. In 1987, Bashir was transferred to Shawangunk after being targeted as an alleged organizer of a strike. He spent three years in solitary confinement, not as a result of disciplinary infraction, but solely due to his political and religious beliefs. Bashir is constantly accused of being involved in any and every action that takes place wherever he is incarcerated. As a result, he is continuously transferred and harassed by prison guards.