A New Black Panthers leader learned the hard way that police are there to help. Ali Muhammad is known in Tampa for being a leader of the New Black Panthers party, and he is very critical of law enforcement. When Muhammad got robbed at gunpoint, he found himself calling the police for help.
Last Friday, Muhammad was walking home from working as a DJ at a local club.
"I was approached by a young black male who just came up to me and said, 'Give me your earrings and your backpack,'" Muhammad told Fox 32, "He took everything I had. At the time, he didn't take my cell phone, and that's what made me call 911."
Muhammad started to follow the suspect while speaking with police, but he stopped following when the dispatcher urged him not to.
The suspect continued to rob two additional people at gunpoint. "One lady, she was in tears. She said she couldn't believe it. He had the gun in her mouth," said Muhammad.
Officers flooded the area and located the suspect, 18-year-old Antwan Robertson. After a short foot pursuit, officer's located Robertson hiding behind a dumpster. Officers were able to arrest Robertson and return Muhammad's belongings to him. Robertson is now being held on three counts of armed robbery, possession of a firearm, and possession of drugs.
"Police can be hostile and very belligerent. Friday night, I met some officers who [were] about business, and that was getting a bad guy off the street," said Muhammad.
Black-on-black crime is also a focus of Muhammad's New Black Panthers group, "To just go out late at night and throw your life away, robbing people, that's hurting," he continued. "Every black life is valuable right now, especially a black male, and for him to keep going on with the norm, continue with the process of going to jail and ending your life like that, as our boys are doing nowadays, it's very hurting."
Muhammad's view from the New Black Panthers actually seems much less extreme than the organized Black Lives Matter groups. Muhammad advised that he believes in building relationships between the police and the communities that they serve, whereas Black Lives Matter refuses to even speak with police.
The New Black Panther Party has been designated as a hate group by the SPLC.
Muhammad also talked about realistic goals, such as reducing crime, rather than demanding to be paid a salary for being black.
While the initial robbery was unfortunate, hopefully this incident helped build a bridge in a community that needs it.