Nazis, New Jersey State Police and Assata Shakur

By Hans Wolff
August, 1998

There have been persistent reports of a Nazi subculture in the New Jersey State Police, which has long had a reputation for violence and racism. Recently, the State Police was the subject of a review article in the New York Times, which cited years of allegations and a landmark court ruling concerning their racist bias in stopping Black and Latino motorists.[1]

When the Black Liberation Army leader Assata Shakur was captured and shot in the back with her hands up by New Jersey troopers in 1973, she was under their guard for several days, as she writes in “Assata: an Autobiography“, [2]

Herr Hitler “When they changed shift, the two troopers would salute the sergeant. Some saluted an army salute, but others saluted like the Nazis did in Germany. They held their hands in front of them and clicked their heels. I couldn’t believe it. One day one of them came in and gave me a speech about how he fought in World War II on the wrong side. He went on and on and there was no question that he believed everything he said…. Every day he gave me a speech about nazism. Sometimes other nazis would join in. I asked him if there were a lot of nazis in the state troopers, but he just laughed and kept on talking.

… I later learned that the state troopers in new jersey was started by a German, that their uniforms were patterned after some type of German uniform (very similar to the uniforms South African police wear), that they are notorious for stopping Black, Hispanic, and long-haired people on the turnpike and beating, harassing, and arresting them.

The nazis headed the harassment campaign against me. They spit in my food and turned down the thermostat in the room until it was freezing. For a while their campaign centered on keeping me from sleeping. They stamped their feet on the floor, sang songs all night, played with their guns, shouted, etc.”[2]

What lies behind this grotesque experience whose details, including the songs, reveal a certain authenticity? Let’s take a look.

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