Former Black Panther and political prisoner, Robert Seth Hayes has died at the age of 72. Hayes was born in Harlem in October 1947. Hayes was drafted into the Vietnam War and was awarded a Purple Heart. He joined the Black Panther Party after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. He worked in the party’s free medical clinics and free breakfast programs. In 1973, he was convicted of the killing of a New York City transit officer, which Hayes has always denied. Hayes was released from prison on parole last year, after 45 years behind bars, making him one of the longest-held political prisoners in the United States. He died on Saturday morning at his home in New York, after a long diabetes illness.

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