Incident Summary:

12/28/1972: Four members of the Black Liberation Army robbed $50 from a bar in Brooklyn, New York, United States and kidnapped the owner James E. Freeman. The BLA left a ransom note demanding $20,000 for the safe return of Freeman. However, Freeman was discovered unharmed a short time after the incident in a truck one and a half miles away from the bar.



United States

North America

region/u.s. state:

New York

New York City

Location Details:

Attack Information
Type of Attack (more) Hostage Taking (Kidnapping)
Type of Attack (more) Facility/Infrastructure Attack
Successful Attack? (more) Yes
Target Information (more)
Target Type: Business
Name of Entity New York bar
Specific Description Bar on 767 Fulton Street, Brooklyn New York
Nationality of Target United States
Target Type: Private Citizens & Property
Name of Entity New York bar owner
Specific Description James E. Freeman
Nationality of Target
Additional Information
Hostages Yes
Number of Hostages 1
US Hostages 1
Days of Kidnapping 0
Outcome Hostage(s) escaped (not during rescue attempt)
Ransom Yes
Total Ransom Amount Demanded 20000.00
Ransom Amount Demanded from US Sources 20000.00
Total Ransom Amount Paid Unknown
Total Ransom Amount Paid by US Sources Unknown
Ransom Notes A note, with a sticker of the Black Liberation Army, demanded $20,000 for the safe return of the bartender. However, the perpetrators left the bartender alone and he was able to escape.
Property Damage Yes
Extent of Property Damage Minor (likely < $1 million)
Value of Property Damage $50.00
Weapon Information
Type Sub-type
Firearms Rifle/Shotgun (non-automatic)
Firearms Unknown Gun Type
Weapon Details
Pistol and sawed-off shotgun
Additional Information
Suicide Attack?No
Part of Multiple Incident?No
Criterion 1 (more) Yes
Criterion 2 (more) Yes
Criterion 3 (more) Yes
Additional Information The incident occurred at 12:35 AM. There were reports that James E. Freeman might have been drugged during his kidnapping. Black Liberation Army members Joanne Chesimard (AKA Assata Shakur) and Ronald Myers were both tried for this incident and acquitted in 1975.
Perpetrator Group Information
Group Name Claimed Responsibility
Black Liberation Army Yes (Confirmed: Unknown; Mode: Note left at scene)
Perpetrator Statistics
Number of Perpetrators 4
Number of Captured Perpetrators Unknown
Casualty Information
Total Number of Casualties 0 Fatalities / 0 Injured
Total Number of Fatalities 0
Number of U.S. Fatalities 0
Number of Perpetrator Fatalities 0
Total Number of Injured 0
Number of U.S. Injured 0
Number of Perpetrators Injured 0
"Acquittal is Won By Miss Chesimard," New York Times, December 20, 1975.
"Suspect in Kidnapping Sought In the Killing of Two Policemen," New York Times, December 29, 1972.
Marcia McKnight Trick, "Chronology of Incidents of Terroristic, Quasi-Terroristic, and Political Violence in the United States: January 1965 to March 1976," National Advisory Committee on Criminal Justice Standards and Goals: Report of the Task Force on Disorders and Terrorism, 1976.