New Black Panther Party leader’s gun charge dropped

A gun charge against a New Black Panther Party leader has 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 arrested on March 26 and charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

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, who is chief of staff of the New Black Panther Party, had announced 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 claimed he was denied a probable cause hearing as retaliation for the bounty on Zimmerman.

The New Black Panther Party is fashioned after the 1960s-era group that was founded in Oakland, Calif., on principles of African-American self-defense and black nationalism, but often was associated with violence.

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.