“A revolutionary woman can’t have no reactionary man,” Danielle Wong stated, quoting Joanne Chesimard, who also goes by Assata Shakur, a former member of the Black Liberation Army found guilty of the murder of a New Jersey state trooper in 1973.
Wong, who sits on the council in the city of Bloomfield, made the divisive denotation from Chesimard during a council meeting on March 8.
Chesimard became the first female to be put on the FBI’s most-wanted terrorist list when her name was added in 2013.
The contentious remark spurred Bloomfield’s police chief to issue a memo to town manager Phil Schenck in reference to Wong’s “perceived celebration,” according to the Hartford Courant on Tuesday.
Chesimard is wanted by the FBI for a multitude of felonies, notably a bank robbery in May 1973 when she and two others gunned down New Jersey State Trooper Werner Foerster, resulting in his death.
Chesimard, who was the godmother of late hip-hop legend Tupac Shakur, was found guilty of the slaying in 1977, but slipped out of a correctional facility in Clinton, N.J. in November 1979 before making her way to Cuba in 1984, the FBI reports.
The agency detailed its continuing search for Chesimard in January, along with a $1-million reward for information leading to her capture. She is still regarded by authorities to be living in Cuba, where she received political asylum from the communist dictatorship.
Chesimard also makes an appearance on the BLM at School homepage, with a quote saying, “It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win,” and, “We must love each other and support each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains.”
On Wednesday when reached for comment on the controversy, Wong, a Democrat elected in 2019, said she was aware that Chesimard had a “controversial background,” but claimed that she “totally forgot” about the particulars of her involvement in Foerster’s gruesome murder.
“It was a basically a misjudgment on my part and I will quote people from now who are not offensive,” Wong said to the New York 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.”
However, the quotation prompted Bloomfield Police Chief Paul Hammick to ask for a meeting with Wong, Schenck, and Mayor Suzette DeBeatham-Brown over the flippant citation and “growing anti-police sentiment” being hurled in the direction of some officers, according to the Courant.
After her get-together with Hammick, Wong was said to have participated in a roll call with nearly 20 officers on Thursday along with a “candid conversation” with some of the cops, she stated.
“I totally support the police and my police department, but I’ll definitely be more thoughtful moving forward,” Wong stressed on Wednesday. “I do regret quoting someone who offended my police officers, but I did not mean to offend anybody.”
Wong, who claims to be the descendant of Jamaican immigrants as well as a single mother of two black children, said she rejects any kind of calls to violence.
“I totally denounce violence against anybody, including police,” Wong insisted.
Wong is scheduled to attend another meeting with the Bloomfield police later in the week, she noted.
“I said, ‘Look, I am here to hear out your concerns,’ and I listened more than anything,” Wong described after her first meeting with Bloomfield officers. “I owned that right away and said that was not my intention to offend. I’m all about accountability.”