New Black Panther leader’s gun charges dropped

Gun charges against a new Black Panther Party leader have been dropped, court officials said.

After pleading guilty in Gwinnett County last year to writing a bad check for $3,000, a felony, Hashim Nzinga was arrested for selling a gun at a DeKalb County pawn shop, authorities said.

It is illegal in Georgia for a convicted felon to have a gun, and Nzinga, 49, was charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and arrested on March 26.

Last week, DeKalb County prosecutors dismissed the charge.

Nzinga hadn’t been told he shouldn’t own a firearm, DeKalb Assistant District Attorney Helen Peters told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“I got confirmation from Gwinnett that he wasn’t notified of his rights until after he sold the gun,” Peters said.

Days before Nzinga’s arrest, the Stone Mountain father of six and chief of staff of the New Black Panther Party told the news media the organization was offering a $10,000 bounty for the “citizen’s arrest” of George Zimmerman, who admitted to killing unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in self-defense last year in Sanford, Fla.

Nzinga was in jail for nearly four months, his supporters claiming that he was denied a probable cause hearing as retaliation for the bounty on Zimmerman.

The New Black Panther organization is fashioned after the 1960s-era group founded in Oakland, Calif., on the principles of African-American self-defense and black nationalism, but often associated with racism and violence to further its political goals.

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