JetBlue Airlines is apologizing for a Black History Month display that included Assata Shakur, who was convicted of murdering a New Jersey state trooper in 1973 and is currently on the FBI’s list of most-wanted terrorists.
The display described Shakur, a member of the Black Liberation Army, as a “political champion who is innocent of the criminal accusations against her” and “became the first woman to be placed on the FBI’s Most Wanted list.”
After travelers complained the airline was celebrating a “convicted cop killer,” JetBlue removed Shakur from the display at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York and noted that it was part of a “ready-made batch of posters” purchased from a third party.
“Our crewmembers came together to celebrate Black History Month with a display in Terminal 5 featuring prominent individuals in history. When we learned of concerns regarding one individual, we immediately removed the poster,” the airline said in a statement. “The intention was always to unite our crewmembers and customers around the importance of Black History Month, and we apologize for any offense the poster may have caused.”
Shakur, 71, who police refer to as Joanne Chesimard, was involved in a shootout on the New Jersey Turnpike. She was convicted of the murder of Trooper Werner Forester and sentenced to life in prison after arguing she did not fire any weapon.
She escaped from prison two years after her sentencing and sought asylum in Cuba, where she is believed to remain today. The FBI is offering a reward to anyone with information about her whereabouts.
Contributing: David Oliver, Associated Press
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