Popular rapper Hasan Salaam’s song “Jericho” has topped the ReverbNation charts for NYC! We asked him for his thoughts on this and here is what he sent:
“Phillip Pannell was killed by Officer Gary Spath when I was 10 years old in Teaneck, New Jersey. Phillip’s cousin and the daughter of the cop’s partner were both in my class. Phillips cousin and I were bussed to “The White Side” of town. Blockbusting real estate in this community in the 1960s led to a very segregated town; the bussing of students was done to “desegregate” a community with growing racial tensions.It all boiled over when sixteen year old Phillip was murdered. I remember seeing Phillip a few times in passing at the park where we would play ball. After his death, I remember that the white teachers and staff took special interest in making sure the cop’s daughter was okay, and even took her to the guidance counselor. Nothing for Phillips cousin. Phillip was Black and Spath is White. Spath claimed Phillip was reaching in his pockets when he shot him in the back. An autopsy concluded Phillip was shot in the back with his hands raised in the air, proving the officer lied. The usual cast of characters showed up, Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson. Riots ensued. Spath was charged and acquitted of manslaughter, no more Sharpton and Jesse. The Pannell family and the community were left to pick up the pieces of injustice. Spath is walking the streets free after killing a child and Ms. Pannell is left without a son.