I stand with Mumia and fight for his freedom because I believe in his innocence. I have no doubt that he is a political prisoner.—
Marc Lamont Hill (@marclamonthill) April 24, 2013
Those were tweets from Marc Lamont Hill, self styled “Hip-Hop Intellectual”. IOW – a better educated version of Touré Neblett.
So who is Mumia Abu Jamal? Here’s what Wiki has to say:
Born in Philadelphia, Abu-Jamal became involved in black nationalism in his youth, and was a member of the Black Panther Party until October 1970. Alongside his political activism, he became a radio journalist, eventually becoming president of the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists. On December 9, 1981, Officer Faulkner was shot dead while conducting a traffic stop on Abu-Jamal’s brother, William Cook. Abu-Jamal was injured by a shot from Faulkner and when further police arrived on the scene, he was arrested and charged with first degree murder.
Going on trial in 1982, he initially decided to represent himself, but was repeatedly reprimanded for disruptive behavior and given a court-appointed lawyer. Three witnesses testified that they had witnessed Abu-Jamal commit the murder, and he was unanimously convicted by jury and sentenced to death, spending the next 30 years on death row.
On December 9, 1981, in Philadelphia, close to the intersection at 13th and Locust Streets, Philadelphia Police Department officer Daniel Faulkner conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle belonging to William Cook, Abu-Jamal’s younger brother. During the traffic stop, Abu-Jamal’s taxi was parked across the street, and Abu-Jamal ran across the street towards the traffic stop. At the traffic stop, there was an exchange of fire. Both Officer Faulkner and Abu-Jamal were wounded, and Faulkner died. Police arrived on the scene and arrested Abu-Jamal, who was found wearing a shoulder holster. A revolver, which had five spent cartridges, was beside him. He was taken directly from the scene of the shooting to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital where he received treatment for his wound, the result of a shot from Faulkner.
The prosecution presented four witnesses to the court. Robert Chobert, a cab driver who testified he was parked behind Faulkner, identified Abu-Jamal as the shooter. Cynthia White, a prostitute, testified that Abu-Jamal emerged from a nearby parking lot and shot Faulkner. Michael Scanlan, a motorist, testified that from two car lengths away, he saw a man, matching Abu-Jamal’s description, run across the street from a parking lot and shoot Faulkner. Albert Magilton, a pedestrian who did not see the actual murder, testified to witnessing Faulkner pull over Cook’s car. At the point of seeing Abu-Jamal start to cross the street toward them from the parking lot, Magilton turned away and lost sight of what happened next.
The prosecution also presented two witnesses who were at the hospital after the altercation. Hospital security guard Priscilla Durham and Police Officer Garry Bell testified that Abu-Jamal confessed in the hospital by saying, “I shot the motherfucker, and I hope the motherfucker dies.”
A .38 caliber Charter Arms revolver, belonging to Abu-Jamal, with five spent cartridges was retrieved beside him at the scene. He was wearing a shoulder holster, and Anthony Paul, the Supervisor of the Philadelphia Police Department’s firearms identification unit, testified at trial that the cartridge cases and rifling characteristics of the weapon were consistent with bullet fragments taken from Faulkner’s body. Tests to confirm that Abu-Jamal had handled and fired the weapon were not performed, as contact with arresting police and other surfaces at the scene could have compromised the forensic value of such tests.
The defense maintained that Abu-Jamal was innocent of the charges and that the testimony of the prosecution’s witnesses was unreliable. The defense presented nine character witnesses, including poet Sonia Sanchez, who testified that Abu-Jamal was “viewed by the black community as a creative, articulate, peaceful, genial man”. Another defense witness, Dessie Hightower, testified that he saw a man running along the street shortly after the shooting although he did not see the actual shooting itself. His testimony contributed to the development of a “running man theory”, based on the possibility that a “running man” may have been the actual shooter. Veronica Jones also testified for the defense, but she did not see anyone running. Other potential defense witnesses refused to appear in court. Abu-Jamal did not testify in his own defense. Nor did his brother, who said at the crime scene, “I ain’t got nothing to do with this.”
But wait! There’s more!
Abu-Jamal did not make any public statements about Faulkner’s murder until May 2001. In his version of events, he claimed that he was sitting in his cab across the street when he heard shouting, then saw a police vehicle, then heard the sound of gunshots. Upon seeing his brother appearing disoriented across the street, Abu-Jamal ran to him from the parking lot and was shot by a police officer.
So Mumia was just minding his own business and trying to help his brother when a cop shot him for no reason. Then some total stranger ran up, grabbed Mumia’s gun, killed the cop, dropped the gun next to Mumia and fled the scene. Anyone who says otherwise is a liar and probably a racist.
This “political prisoner” status is what Dzhokar “Jahar” Tsarnaev can look forward to. He’s a cop-killer too.
BTW – In 2012 an appeals court vacated the death sentence and now Mumia is serving life without parole.
Note: Daniel Faulkner was not available for comment.