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Ex-Black Panther Russell “Maroon” Shoatz Freed After Half-Century Behind Bars, 22 Years in Solitary

HeadlineOct 27, 2021

After nearly 50 years behind bars, former Black Panther Russell “Maroon” Shoatz was freed from prison in Pennsylvania on Tuesday, after a judge granted his compassionate release the day before. Shoatz was sentenced to life without parole in 1970 for an attack on a Philadelphia police station that left one officer dead and another wounded. He escaped prison twice, earning him the nickname “Maroon,” and endured 22 consecutive years of solitary confinement. Shoatz is now entering hospice care. He has stage 4 colorectal cancer and must receive nutrition through an IV. This is his son Russell Shoatz III speaking Monday.

Russell Shoatz III: “What’s in the transcripts are the evidence that the prisons don’t have the capabilities to take care not just of their healthy prisoners, they definitely don’t have the ability to take care of their geriatric prisoners, and that they have effectively killed my father.”

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