Cuba belongs on list of governments supporters of terrorism: Joanne Chesimard, who killed State Trooper Werner Foerster in East Brunswick, still free in Cuba
Years after President Barack Obama removed Cuba from the list of governments supporters of terrorism the FBI continues to look for American terrorists enjoying the hospitality of Raul Castro’s regime. They should be return to the United States to face justice.
Joanne Chesimard, who killed State Trooper Werner Foerster in East Brunswick, still free in Cuba
Nick Muscavage, Bridgewater Courier News
May 2, 2019
TRENTON - Thursday marked the 46th anniversary of the murder of New Jersey State Trooper Werner Foerster, and it also marked another day his killer is still hiding out in Cuba.
On May 2, 1973, Foerster responded to a traffic stop of a vehicle with Vermont license plates at the New Brunswick Station on the New Jersey Turnpike to assist fellow Trooper James Harper.
The stop quickly turned into a shootout between the troopers and the three passengers of the vehicle, and Foerster was shot multiple times in his chest before being executed by his own weapon.
Joanne Chesimard, who was a member of the Black Liberation Army, was convicted and sentenced for the murder of Foerster and imprisoned at the Clinton Correctional Facility for Women, now known as the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women, in Union Township in Hunterdon County.
Chesimard escaped from prison in 1979 and eventually fled to Cuba where she was granted asylum by Fidel Castro. She has remained living in Cuba under the alias Assata Shakur.
Joanne Chesimard, now known as Assata Shakur. (Photo: ~Courtesy of the New Jersey State Police)
Chesimard was the first woman to be placed on the FBI's Most Wanted Terrorists List. The New Jersey State Police and FBI are currently offering up to $2 million for information leading to her capture.
There was speculation that Chesimard may be extradited to the United States if relations with Cuba improved, but it never occurred.
“Today and every day, we remember Trooper Werner Foerster, who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving this state and its residents," Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal said in a statement. "We stand with our brothers and sisters in law enforcement as we honor the legacy of our fallen colleague. And yet over the past four decades, as Trooper Foerster’s son grew up without a father, Joanne Chesimard has remained a fugitive, thumbing her nose at our country and our system of justice.”
Foerster joined the New Jersey State Police as a member of the 82nd State Police Class on July 24, 1970, according to a news release from State Police.
State Trooper Werner Foerster. (Photo: ~Courtesy of the New Jersey State Police)
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During his career, he was stationed at stations in Toms River, Colts Neck, Fort Dix and Key Port.
His last assignment was at Troop "D" Headquarters in New Brunswick. At the time of his death, Foerster was survived by his wife and son. He was 34 years old.
"Today, we renew our commitment to ensuring that this convicted murderer is returned to this country to serve the remainder of her long prison sentence," Gubir said.
State Police Col. Patrick Callahan said Foerster "made the ultimate sacrifice" for his fellow troopers and citizens of New Jersey.
"As an organization, we ensure that every trooper, past and present, honored with wearing the blue and gold uniform of a New Jersey State Trooper remembers the life and death of Trooper Foerster, but it is equally important that the public also remembers," Callahan said in a statement. "Our pursuit of Joanne Chesimard will not cease until she is returned to New Jersey to serve out the remainder of her prison sentence for the brutal murder of Trooper Werner Foerster."
Callahan said Chesimard's apprehension is owed it to the Foerster family, the State Police, "and every family member who has suffered the devastating loss of a loved one killed in the line of duty."
“Our hearts go out to for the Foerster family as they continue to cope with this unimaginable loss," state Sen. Joe Pennacchio said in a statement. “That convicted killer belongs in jail, and justice will not be served until we bring her back to serve out her sentence. Clearly, we cannot count on Cuba to take action. We must do the right thing and demand her extradition now."
Gregory W. Ehrie, the FBI special agent in charge, said Chesimard is "a violent, convicted criminal" who remains on the FBI's Most Wanted Terrorist List.
"The over four decades which have passed in no way diminishes the horrific nature of her crimes. The men and women of the FBI stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our partners in the New Jersey State Police, and we will not stop our pursuit of Chesimard until we are able to deliver justice to the family of Trooper Werner Foerster."
Staff Writer Nick Muscavage: 908-243-6615; firstname.lastname@example.org