New Black Panther group hails ax attack on cops

By Priscilla DeGregory, Kevin Sheehan and Kirstan Conley
October 27, 2014 | 5:11am

Queens chapter leader of the New Black Panther Party, Frank Sha Francois says that Zale Thomspon was “a crusader seeking justice."Photo: Brigitte Stelzer ; YouTube

The Muslim extremist who attacked rookie cops with a hatchet last week was “a crusader seeking justice’’ — and more assaults will likely follow, the head of his local New Black Panther Party warned.

“It probably won’t be the last [attack on police] because you have a lot of frustrated people out here,” Queens chapter leader Frank Sha Francois told The Post.

Francois said ax-wielding Zale Thompson wasn’t officially a member of his group, but he came to meetings and they talked about “police brutality” cases such as Eric Garner and Michael Brown.

“I don’t condone violence, but something needs to be done,” Francois said. “We need to have some type of deterrent and real oversight to deter the police from violating the laws and to know they are not above the laws.”

While he hailed the ax man as a “crusader,” Francois insisted he didn’t agree with Thompson’s methods.

“I tell people that to go up against law enforcement in this country is suicide,” he said. “Our main way to deal with it is to rally and boycotting.”

Thompson, 32, was a jihadist sympathizer who hated cops and white people, his family and friends have said. He was shot dead on a Jamaica, Queens, sidewalk Thursday after he lunged with a blue-handled hatchet at four rookie cops, striking Officer Joseph Meeker, 24, in the arm and Officer Kenneth Healey, 25, in the back of the head.

Francois’s comments about Thompson came amid anxiety among cops over the attack. Officers fatally shot a Queens man Sunday morning after he threatened staff at New York Hospital Queens with a utility knife, police said.

Joseph Priolo, 29, had gone to the hospital hours earlier, at around 2:30 a.m., complaining of chest pain and shortness of breath. He was treated and released — but returned a short time later, pulling out the knife and demanding syringes. A staffer called 911.

When cops confronted Priolo later near the Kissena Boulevard apartment building where he lived, he lunged with the knife and was shot twice, police said.

“He brandished the utility knife and one of the two officers fired twice,” said Chief of Patrol James O’Neill.

Priolo was rushed back to the hospital where he had menaced the workers and was pronounced dead.

Meanwhile, police officers and community members held a short prayer service outside Jamaica Hospital for Meeker and Healey.
“[Healey’s] still in critical but stable condition, but his recovery’s been dramatic,” Deputy Inspector John Cappelmann said.

“He’s speaking. He’s doing limited physical therapy. He’s doing great.”

Meeker has already been released.