One of the men arrested by Fayetteville police on Tuesday in the Woodbyne subdivision on multiple felony charges was Augustus C. Romain, also known as Gazi Kodzo. Who is this person and why is the arrest garnering so much attention from news sites in Georgia and across the nation?
Romain/Kodzo has been described as a leader of an extremist organization called the Black Hammer Party, as the leader of a fringe communist group and as the leader of Black Hammer that had become a cult.
It also appears that the home at 220 Selwyn Court in the Woodbyne subdivision became the new headquarters for the Black Hammer Party.
Before taking a look at Romain/Kodzo, a recap of the Tuesday incident at the Selwyn Court residence is noteworthy.
As reported Tuesday by Fayetteville police, “the incident began when Fayette County 911 received a ‘trouble unknown’ call around 7:48 a.m. Tuesday morning from a person whispering that they had been kidnapped by an organization and were being held in the garage of a residence, police previously reported.”
The call was traced to 220 Selwyn Court in the Woodbyne subdivision off White Road on the city’s north side.
Nine occupants voluntarily left the residence when police by loudspeaker instructed everyone to evacuate. Officers at that time were told there was still one person inside, police said.
When the incident ended, Augustus C. Romain, 36, of 220 Selwyn Court, was charged with aggravated sodomy, two counts of conspiracy to commit a felony, two counts of false imprisonment – party to a crime, two counts of kidnapping – party to a crime, two counts of aggravated assault – party to a crime and two counts of criminal street gang activity, police said.
Also charged with multiple felony counts was 21-year-old Xavier H. Rushin, also of 220 Selwyn Court.
Romain also goes by the name Gazi Kodzo, and uses the pronouns them/they. Kodzo is the leader, according to many, of the Black Hammer Party, and has nearly 40,500 followers on Facebook and a presence on other social media outlets.
Kodzo is no stranger to Atlanta police, with ajc.com reporting past instances of threats to Mayor Andre Dickens and police, and with Kodzo and his extremist sect calling for the killing of police.
Taking issue with what has been reported by law enforcement, blackhammer.org on its website made a different claim. The organization said law enforcement “ambushed the Atlanta [that should read Fayetteville] headquarters of the Black Hammer Party. By the end of the day, one Hammer was shot and killed by the police. His name is AP, our party’s Minister of Defense.”
According to Fayetteville police, the deceased was 18-year-old Amonte T. Ammons, who was found unresponsive and died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Police reported no shots were fired by law enforcement officers during the entire incident.
Romain/Kodzo’s Facebook page says he moved to Atlanta in 2021, and describes Gazi Kodzo as “an African International Revolutionary and part-time Queen of Petty.”
So what is the Black Hammer Party?
According to blackhammer.org, the organization’s mission statement, “The Black Hammer Party exists to take the Land Back for all colonized people worldwide. We are focused on building dual contending power of and for the colonized masses. Under the leadership of the colonized poor and working class, our mission is to use our collective building power to unite, strengthen and liberate all colonized nations. Currently, our physical and intellectual labor is being coerced to build for the capitalist white colonial state, but it can be redirected to a noble cause. We will organize our labor to be of service to our people. Our symbol, the Hammer, represents breaking the chains of colonialism and building a self-determined future for all colonized people worldwide.”
The blackhammer.org website also includes a section called “Build Hammer Cities.” It calls for building cities for all people of color to be free (with no discrimination of nationality, gender, age, mental/physical differences, etc.); jobs, housing, food, healthcare; no cops, no rent, no Coronavirus, and no white people; returning the land to indigenous people; and building Hammer Cities all over the world.”
On the blackhammer.org site, the organization in January announced its intended move to Colorado to establish Hammer City. Colorado was chosen rather than Florida, because Florida was too overrun with Covid-19.
Noting Kodzo/Romain as the founder of Black Hammer Organization, libcom.org in September 2021 said, “Founders of the Black power group/cult ‘Black Hammer Organization’ denounced the founder Augustus Romain/Gazi Kodzo for turning Black Hammer into a cult. Their statement offers insight into the authoritarian dynamics of vanguardist organizations and contains pointers on how to spot Leftist cults before joining.”
As for the headquarters of the Black Hammer Party, and according to the Fayette County Tax Assessor’s office, the 3,214 sq. ft. home at 200 Selwyn Court and valued at $384,200 appears to be a rental, owned by Progress Residential Borrower 1 LLC, of Scottsdale, Arizona.
The company owns 19 properties in Fayette County.