Former Head of Black Panthers Says His Group, Nation of Islam Controlling Ferguson

by Andrew Johnson

The former chairman of the New Black Panther Party and the president of Black Lawyers for Justice told Missouri Highway Patrol captain Ron Johnson, who is overseeing policing efforts in Ferguson, that his groups, along with the Nation of Islam, are controlling the situation in the embattled city.

During Johnson’s Saturday press briefing to announce the new curfew in Ferguson, Malik Zulu Shabazz, who introduced himself as the head of the lawyers’ group, touted his groups’ “rapport” with locals and influence over the situation. “As you well know, on Thursday night, my group — and thanks to you — my organizers, along with the New Black Panther Party and the Nation of Islam, we are the ones who put those men in the streets and we controlled the flow of traffic,” he said.

“I personally shut down the avenue at 2 o’clock,” Shabazz said to Johnson. “You were there, and you witnessed that.”

Shabazz warned that the new curfew could be a “prescription for confrontation” between demonstrators and law enforcement given the sudden nature of the rule.

“It ended because we ended it and we have the rapport with the demonstrators — they respect me, they respect us,” he added.

Johnson said Shabazz was “absolutely correct” that those groups helped control the demonstrations, although he said he did not know the names of those groups at the time.