Summer Lee Touts Endorsement from Left-Wing Group that Wants to Free Notorious Cop Killers

Democratic Rep. Summer Lee (Pa.) this week accepted an endorsement from a left-wing group that has called to free one of Pennsylvania’s most notorious cop killers from prison and hails another as a “freedom fighter.”

Lee, a member of the progressive “Squad,” spoke at an online event with 1HoodPower, a Pittsburgh-based nonprofit that seeks “liberation for historically disenfranchised communities.” The group endorsed Lee in her April 23 primary against Bhavini Patel, a progressive who serves on the Alleghany County Council.

1HoodPower has praised two former Black Liberation Army members who murdered Philadelphia police officers. In 2020, the group called to “free” Mumia Abu-Jamal from prison, where he is serving a life sentence for murdering Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner in 1981.

In 2022, the group promoted a memorial service for Russell Maroon Shoatz, a Black Liberation Army soldier who ambushed and murdered Philadelphia police sergeant Frank Von Colln in 1970. Shoatz repeatedly escaped prison and was ultimately captured after a shootout with police in 1980. 1HoodPower called him a “beloved ancestor” and “freedom fighter.”

Lee’s alliance with 1HoodPower underscores her comfort with left-wing groups. Lee came under fire last month after the Washington Free Beacon reported she would speak at a fundraiser for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), an anti-Israel group whose director, Nihad Awad, said he was “happy to see” Hamas attack Israel on Oct. 7.

Patel, the progressive running against Lee, called on the incumbent to cancel her CAIR speech and to return campaign donations from Awad. The CAIR leader contributed $500 to Lee’s campaign in December and gave another $2,000 to the Squad member on Feb. 1, according to campaign disclosures.

More than 40 Jewish leaders oppose Lee over her alliance with CAIR and her “openly antisemitic” rhetoric. One of those leaders is the rabbi of Tree of Life, a synagogue in Lee’s district that was targeted in a 2018 mass shooting that killed 11 worshippers.

Lee’s controversial alliances have had ripple effects in other political races. Republican Senate candidate Dave McCormick has called on Democratic Sen. Bob Casey (Pa.) to rescind his endorsement of Lee over her links to CAIR. Lee sent campaign mailers last month that said she was “strongly endorsed” by Casey.

During her event with 1HoodPower, Lee reiterated her opposition to American aid to Israel and her support for a ceasefire in Gaza. Lee and other Squad members called for a ceasefire in October, with no conditions for Hamas to release its American or Israeli hostages.

Lee lamented at the campaign event that Jewish communities in her district are viewed more positively than other minority communities.

“Our Jewish community is a beloved community. Our Muslim, Arab, and Palestinian communities need to feel as beloved. Our black and brown communities need to feel as beloved,” Lee said.

Lee also suggested that Patel and her allies have used racist “dog whistles” in ads to question her loyalty to the Democratic party. “We’re combating lies,” Lee said, citing ads that portray her as “not a real Democrat.”

“Very dog whistle ads that impact black people most. The people who are most susceptible to these are black people, all the time, because black people want to know why we are not being loyal to the president,” said Lee.

Her campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

Original News Source – Washington Free Beacon

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