Unlike former President Barack Obama, President Trump left no doubt Friday where he stands on the subject of Cuba returning fugitive cop-killer Joanne Chesimard to the U.S. to face justice.
As a crowd of Cuban-Americans in Miami roared its approval, Mr. Trump called on Cuban President Raul Castro to “return the fugitives from American justice, including the return of the cop-killer Joanne Chesimard.”
Chesimard, a former Black Panther, fled to Cuba in 1984 after escaping from prison in New Jersey, where she had been serving a life sentence for the murder of state Trooper Werner Foerster.
An agreement signed by the Obama administration with Cuba in January made no mention of Chesimard, although Mr. Obama’s aides said they had raised the issue with the Castro regime quietly behind the scenes.
Law enforcement officials and elected representatives in New Jersey have been hoping that Mr. Trump would raise the profile of Chesimard’s case.
“I want to commend President Trump for speaking out so strongly and forcefully demanding the return of Joanne Chesimard to face justice in New Jersey for the murder of Trooper Foerster,” said New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. “His defense of the New Jersey State Police and the rule of law should give great confidence to every American who supports our system of justice.”
In addition to Chesimard, there are about 70 U.S. fugitives believed to be hiding in Cuba.
Mr. Trump also called on the Castro regime to “hand over the Cuban military criminals who shot down and killed four brave members of Brothers to the Rescue” in 1996. The members of the Miami-based activist group had been dropping leaflets over Cuba when their two unarmed Cessna planes were shot down.