On Thursday, July 20, 2017  we witnessed the parole hearing  for OJ Simpson. It was televised during the early afternoon hours for all to see. What made it worse is that this was actual news and so many Americans wanted to see the outcome. Popular culture has had this eerie fascination with OJ Simpson ever since his acquittal for the murder of his late wife: Nicole Brown and her best friend Ron Goldman in 1995. Nicole and Ron were both well known drug addicts in Hollywood– shhhhh! Their deaths came as a retaliation: Colombian Necktie… That is another article though. I will stay on topic.


Why are we still harping on this brother like this? He is set to for release in early October of 2017. Ever since this hearing, the meme’s have been coming HEAVY. People are still obsessed with this story. Some black people are actually in celebration of  the news… “THE JUICE” will be back on the streets soon. Somehow, I can’t help but to think that we see this as some form of ” justice”. Why?


This article is not another, ” Did OJ Simpson Do it?”debates. This article is deeper than that. This article is about raising the necessary questions and addressing issues. This is about liberation and the black psyche.  What do we as black people value? Is it our rights or is it watching OJ Simpson’s release from jail for stealing his own memorabilia? Is it our quality of life for today and tomorrow or is it ” If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit”? What about our revolutionaries? What about those who sacrificed their own lives for the cause of improving black life? Veronza Bowers is one brother that comes to mind  when I  think of the black plight in America. What about his freedom time?


Veronza Bowers and Family

He has been eligible for parole since 2005. Why is he still incarcerated? Bowers innocence was declared and supported from day one. There are too many red flags in his case, like many others, that do not add up. The fact that he was a high-ranking official in the Black Panther Party (BPP) has not helped his case neither. It is because of  J.Edgar Hoover’s COINTELPRO operatives that many of our black activists and organizations have been painted out to be terroristic only standing to promote chaos and war, not peace and black excellence… By any means.


In Veronza Bowers case,  Park Ranger Kenneth Patrick was murdered (shot 3 times) at Point Reyes National Seashore in 1973. The sketchy part about this situation is that there were two informants involved as well. There names are: Alan Veale and Johnathan Shoher. Both of these former bank robbers were also charged in the murder of Patrick as well. The Department of Justice wanted Bowers so bad that they cut both Veale and Shoher deals to flip on Bowers. In exchange for testifying against Bowers, the informants past charges were nearly erased. Their charges in this murder case were also dropped. One of the informants served no prison time, was paid $10,000, and placed in witness protection. Their testimonies contributed to the railroading of Veronza Bowers. Without the testimony of these informants, Veronza would have walked. That was NOT what the prosecutors wanted. There was no evidence linking him to the murder. There were no other witness neither. It was the word of the informants that got Bowers convicted.  The crazy part is, there were family members of the informants that tried to testify on Bowers behalf. They knew that their family members (informants) were lying. They knew that Veronza was innocent. There words were disregarded. Veronza’s proven alibi didn’t even matter. No one cared to uncover the truth… He was convicted in April of 1974 in San Francisco district court. His sentence was Life in Prison.


Veronza Bowers has been and still is incarcerated in Atlanta’s USP Federal Penitentiary. In 2005, he was first eligible for parole. Only thirty years of his sentence was mandatory in prison..  It has now been 12 more years since he has been eligible and this brother is still sitting there. He is not complaining. His humility and gratitude for the lesson of living life is amazing. Even though he has been the model prisoner, it still is not enough. He is the founder of the All Faith Meditation Group. That is a nondenominational spiritual group that’s based on healing through meditation. He is an elder now. He has also served as a mentor to many men and a spiritual adviser to those who are behind the wall with him. he is still denied his freedom. He maintains that he did not commit this crime and will never lie and say that he did to get out:


“I have been here for 35 years.  If the only way I can get out is to lie and say I’m guilty, then my whole life is a sham. I will rot here in prison before I do that”


It doesn’t matter how many lawyers speak out on his behalf or even government officials. They will not let this brother go. the wonderful thing about him is that his spirit and integrity remains in tact to this day. He possesses one beautiful soul.

Delbert Africa of the MOVE9

One thing that a lot of our ex political prisoners have in common is: they are in prison for crimes they did not commit. This goes for: Sundiata acoli, Veronza Bowers, Assata Shakur, the Move9, Mumia Abu Jamal, and H. Rap Brown to name a few. What is interesting about these particular cases is: a conviction happened because of an officer’s murder. When there was an opportunity to collect more evidence, that did not happen. This is even true in the case of Mumia abu-jamal. Keep in mind that he was a journalist and BPP member. On the night in question of the incident. They could have done a gun residue test on his hands. Instead they decided to make sure that they did take him to the emergency room so that he could live. Yet no one tested his fingerprints.  No one did the gun Neutron test while he confined to the bed receiving treatment. If this test was done, it would have proven that he did not have any gun residue on his hands. That would mean that he is not a murderer.


In a lot of these cases there was a sketchy “witness ” testimony involved. This is usually a witness who we have never heard of since then, a dead cop, and ignored potential evidence. We obviously see the wrongs yet, we will go hard for OJ Simpson…. We will go stupid hard for an ex football star with an addiction to white women. I guess that is okay because we have convinced ourselves that he got away with murder. Keep in mind, those facts have nothing to do with us or our plight for real.


You can learn more about Veronza  and stay up to date on his freedom fight @ veronza.org


You can send him love and support directly to:

Veronza Bowers Jr.
USP Atlanta P.O Box 150160
Atlanta, GA 30315 United States