- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 23, 2002

CHICAGO Jesse Jackson yesterday equated police officers accused of brutality with terrorists, referring to police as the "militia."
"There is a pattern of African Americans being beaten by the militia and killed by the militia," Mr. Jackson said in an interview with the Washington Times. "These are all acts of terror, and we really need to get a definition of terrorism. Unarmed citizens being beaten and killed by the militia is an act of terrorism."
His statements were made during the 36th annual Rainbow/PUSH Coalition and Citizenship Education Fund Conference. Mr. Jackson is the founder of both groups.
The remarks repeated similar statements made during a wide-ranging discussion with N'Digo magazine, a 125,000-circulation black weekly in Chicago, in which he said that federal, state and local entities can be responsible for "terrorist" acts.
In that interview, Mr. Jackson also stated that incarcerations of black men "are part of a growth industry that is making millions of dollars for non-black communities it is a criminal act against humanity."
The N'Digo interview was part of an annual feature the magazine does on Mr. Jackson for his conference.
"If terrorism is shooting or killing innocent people, then the police that recently shot at an innocent black couple here in Chicago and were acquitted, despite being under the influence of alcohol, were terrorists," Mr. Jackson said in the interview, which appears in the July 18-24 edition of the magazine.
He also said that President Bush "is exploiting the fears of Americans and exaggerating incidents, playing the terrorism theme like a one-string guitar."
"Isn't terrorism the four police officers who beat Rodney King? Or the police that shot Amadou Diallo? What we must do is fight for a definition of terrorism and hold all those who fall under that definition accountable."
"I don't think we have become enraged as a people, as journalists, as ministers, as communicators we just kind of accept what's happening against our own community."
N'Digo was founded as a monthly in 1989 and is a formidable rival of this city's original black newspaper, the Chicago Defender, which was founded in 1903.
Publisher Hermene D. Hartman is a former employee of Rainbow/PUSH, according to N'Digo editor David Smallwood.
Mr. Jackson has done many interviews with N'Digo, he said.
"This interview was scheduled to be an hour, but Mr. Jackson is an old friend, and it went on for three hours," Mr. Smallwood said. "He knows us well he is an old family friend and he tends to let his guard down when he does interviews with us."
Mr. Jackson has been a vociferous critic of Mr. Bush and the war on terror, although the N'Digo interview is the first time he has likened American police officers and governments to terrorists.
Earlier this month at the annual convention of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Mr. Jackson called Mr. Bush and Attorney General John Ashcroft "the most threatening combination in our lifetime" to civil rights.
Rainbow/PUSH has been beleaguered by personnel problems recently, laying off several employees of its main office here earlier this year. But Mr. Jackson continues to travel extensively and keep his high public profile.
So it came as something of a surprise Sunday when the 60-year-old Mr. Jackson, who lives on the south side of Chicago, announced that he had selected Chicago pastor the Rev. James Meeks as his successor to guide Rainbow/PUSH.
But yesterday, Mr. Jackson appeared to recant that statement, issuing a press release that clarified any questions of his pending retirement.
"I have no plans to step down anytime soon. But when I do, Reverend Meeks will be my successor," Mr. Jackson said in yesterday's statement.
An aide added that Sunday's announcement is "by no means a resignation."
Mr. Meeks, 45, has been the organization's executive vice president since 1999. He is running for state Senate as well as being the leader of Salem Baptist Church, which has one of Chicago's largest black congregations.
The Rainbow/PUSH conference continues today with former President Bill Clinton delivering a keynote speech at a luncheon with the theme "Women and AIDS: An International Perspective."
In the N'Digo interview, Mr. Jackson praised Mr. Clinton for his work on battling the AIDS virus and raising the profile of the issue.


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