The Hunt for Khallid Abdul Muhammad

The Million Youth March leader breaks his silence about the violent end to his historic rally, the demands for his arrest, and life as a possible fugitive from Giuliani-style justice

 As we prepare to close out this rally, we want you to be steadfast. Look these bastards in the eyes, and if anyone attacks you, already decide who will be the one to disconnect the railing where you are, and beat the hell out of them. . . .The no-good bastards! And if you don't have a gun, every one of them has one gun, two guns, maybe three guns. In self-defense, if they attack you, take their goddamn guns from them and use their guns on them! In self-defense. Giuliani is known for taking his police and sending them off in riots. If any one of these bastards riots here today, you take their nightstick the way they did brother Abner Louima and ram it up their behind and jam it down their damn throats!

The notion that Khallid Abdul Muhammad tried to incite a riot with those words at the Million Youth March ,then ran like a bandoliered coward as cops stormed the stage, jibes well with the Giuliani administration's version of the tumultuous events of September 5. More than a month after Police Commissioner Howard Safir seemed to convey the impression that every cop on the beat was hunting an aggressive adversary armed with ideology as well as guns, Khallid has not been heard from or sighted.

Tim Bower

Until now.

Speaking from a safe house ''somewhere in the hells of North AmeriKKKa, ''Khallid told the Voice that he has considered life as America's most wanted fugitive, as well as surrendering if a Manhattan grand jury, which is investigating ''the persons responsible'' for the ''disorder and acts of violence,'' formally charges him.

''I am a freedom fighter,'' declares Khallid, leader of the unified New Black Panther Party and New Black Muslim Movement, which is based in Dallas, Texas, and reportedly is under investigation by the Joint Terrorist Task Force. ''I have to be prepared every day that I open my eyes to fight the enemy in any way that the enemy presents itself,'' added the activist, who is often shadowed by members of his heavily armed militia.

But for now, Khallid--whom attorney Malik Z. Shabazz introduced at the Harlem march as ''that bad, baldheaded black man'' who ''makes the enemy quiver at night''--remains ''underground'' because he feels that Safir has ''created an unsafe environment'' for him. Khallid contends that he is not in hiding. ''I never fear for my life!'' he snaps. ''My God has removed the fear from me!''

Nevertheless, fear of ''white law'' apparently is what Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau wants to instill in Khallid. Judging by published remarks attributed to the aging criminal justice czar, his investigation is leaning toward absolving the cops of any wrongdoing, and throwing the book at the prime suspects. According to New York Times reporter David Habfinger, ''Morgenthaus aid that the inquiry would extend to any criminal activity, whether by demonstrators, speakers or police. He added, however, that he had yet to hear of any crime committed by an officer at the scene.''

Khallid argues that an indictment might work in his favor, and he would call Safir and Mayor Giuliani as witnesses at his trial to account fortheir high crimes and misdemeanors. Ultimately, he asserted, jurors will focus on their reckless attempt to enforce a court order minutes after the march permit expired at 4 p.m.

''I have used white law before to beat them,'' says Khallid, referring to the federal appeals court ruling that blocked the city's attempt to deny a permit for the march, ''and I'll use white law to beat them again.''

Although there is no warrant for Khallid's arrest, nothing prohibits edgy cops from stopping and interrogating him. He notes that he would not be able to achieve his goal (putting Safir and Giuliani on trial)if he is ''laying up in some hospital'' because ''brute-beast Gestapo police'' preempted his day in court with one of their ''classic beatdowns, frame-ups, or assassination attempts.''

If Khallid is indicted and decides to remain underground, the NYPD has no qualms about bringing him in dead or alive. Chief of Patrol John Scanlon told The New York Times that about two hours before the rally, Khallid vowed that ''he was willing to kill or be killed that day to accomplish his agenda.'' Advisers fear that psychological profile of the Black Panther and Muslim leader may already have been disseminated throughout the 40,000-member force by department brass.

Indeed, wildly irrational comments by Safir in the aftermath of the disturbance have both the former Nation of Islam minister of defense and cops looking over their shoulders. Within hours of the incident, Safir told reporters that Khallid should be arrested for trying to incite a riot.

''He invoked a crowd to kill police officers,'' Safir said. ''He then had people throw chairs and barriers at his request at police officers.''

Two days later, Safir reinforced the image of Khallid as a dangerous demagogue. At the West Indian carnival on Labor Day, a black man with dreadlocks allegedly pulled a cop's gun from his holster and shot the officer in the leg. According to police, the suspect fled but left the weapon. Safir said the attack may have been inspired by Khallid's gun talk toward the end of the march.

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