Disclaimer: Though I am from Philadelphia, and the whole fight for/against this guy has affected my life, I was only 9 months old when the shooting happened, so I'm using what resources I have.
It seems to me that a lot of perspective
has been lost through the course of the whole Mumia Abu-Jamal
fiasco. Let's look at the facts, starting with the shooting itself, on December 9, 1981
Daniel Faulkner, an officer in the Philadelphia police department, spotted a car driving the wrong way down 13th Street in Center City, and radioed for backup. The car was stopped, and one man, William Cook, got out when Officer Faulkner approached the car. An argument ensued, followed by a fight when Officer Faulkner attempted to search Cook. Cook was hit once by Faulkner. Sometime during the fight, William's brother Wesley (AKA Mumia) appeared from out of a nearby parking lot, saw the fight, and opened fire.
By the time Mumia got to the car, the officer was down, having been shot at least once. A few more shots were fired at point-blank range into the officer. At some point during the incident, Officer Faulkner managed to fire a shot that hit Mumia in the chest, perforating his liver and lodging in his abdomen.
When Officers James Forbes and Robert Shoemaker finally arrived to provide backup, Officer Faulkner was lying on the ground. Forbes went back to the car to request help, and upon his return, he found Mumia sitting on the curb by the body, repeating, "I'm shot". William Cook was standing nearby and said he had nothing to do with the shooting.
Mumia Abu-Jamal was taken to the hospital and refused surgery to remove the bullet in his abdomen for several hours, finally relenting after talking with family. William Cook was arraigned for assault and resisting arrest.
At some point after the shooting, family members claimed that Mumia had been beaten after his arrest; police have no record of any wounds.
Mumia was arraigned for murder, "possession of an instrument of crime", and possession of an "offensive weapon" while still in the hospital.
December 12, 1981:
Ballistics tests proved inconclusive regarding the gun found in Mumia Abu-Jamal's possession and the bullets found in Daniel Faulkner's body and a nearby building. Apparently, though the gun was licensed, Mumia did not have a permit to carry the gun.
William Cook was released on $10000 bail. It was made fairly clear by both the prosecution and the defense that he had nothing to do with the shooting.
December 13, 1981:
An article by Dorothy Storck appears somewhere in the Philadelphia Inquirer commenting on how radio discussion has digressed already from wondering how such a tragedy could happen to demands for a new or more perfect investigation, the dropping of charges, lowering of bail, anything to ensure that "justice in this case will be done" (Claude Lewis, Bulletin columnist, member, Association of Black Journalists). And already, it's gone from a killed police officer to a political activist wrongly tried for a crime in which the evidence against him has already piled pretty high, four days into the case.
"If justice is what it's all about, it might be said that Dan Faulkner missed out on his share." -- Dorothy Storck
January 5, 1982:
A woman claiming to be Mumia Abu-Jamal's wife, Wadlya, claimed that he was beaten by cops on the way to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. Mumia was legally married to Marilyn Cook at the time.
January 9, 1982:
A witness came forward and testified that Mumia Abu-Jamal shot Officer Daniel Faulkner in the back while the officer prepared to handcuff William Cook.
March 19, 1982:
Mumia Abu-Jamal's defense attorney, Anthony Jackson, was denied access to the names and addresses of the prosecution witnesses to the shooting. The judge, Paul Ribner, ruled that "such an action would not be in the best interest of any witness in the case, especially one in which the officer has been slain" (Philadelphia Inquirer). At the time, Mr. Jackson did not know how to approach the defense.
March 30, 1982:
William Cook was found guilty of assault on Officer Daniel Faulkner. On May 13, he was given a six-month sentence.
April 30, 1982:
Mumia Abu-Jamal was removed from a pre-trial hearing in handcuffs. He allegedly told Judge Ribner that he was orchestrating the case against him, and that he should "go to hell". While his defense attorney, Anthony Jackson, was issuing complaints regarding misleading and intimidation of witnesses by the police and the prosecution, Mumia was taunting the judge, finally declaring that the judge should try the case himself, shouting, "You're gonna decided what you want to hear...What are you afraid of? What are you scared of?" (Philadelphia Inquirer) Mr. Jackson later stated that Mumia had a very lax attitude about the trial, that it was "no big thing" (Philadelphia Inquirer).
June 3, 1982:
Anthony Jackson insinuated that there was another man involved in the shooting of Daniel Faulkner, not Mumia Abu-Jamal. He claimed that witnesses called by the prosecution were "mistaken, confused, or lying" (Philadelphia Inquirer). The three eyewitnesses gave conflicting descriptions of the height and clothing of the perpetrator; one eyewitness claimed that the police detained a man who was fleeing the scene, contrary to the police report that Mumia was sitting on the curb.
June 4, 1982:
The first evidence of police injury to Mumia Abu-Jamal was given, as two officers testified to accidentally walking into a pole while carrying him.
June 7, 1982:
Mumia Abu-Jamal was denied an explanation as to why John Africa was not permitted to sit on his defense. It was determined previously that though the man could defend himself, no other person who was not a licensed attorney could sit on the defense with him.
June 17, 1982:
The jury was finally all selected, after 9 days of questioning and jury selection. Mumia was asked to lessen his role in jury selection on June 8 (the first day), because prospective jurors were becoming afraid to serve.
June 18, 1982:
Mumia Abu-Jamal was denied the right to defend himself, and Anthony Jackson was appointed his full attorney. It was determined that Mumia's intention was not to defend himself but to disrupt the trial, and Judge Alfred Sabo ordered Jackson the defense attorney. Anthony Jackson later submitted a request not to be forced to try Mumia. Mumia had frequently expressed a distinct lack of desire to have Jackson serve as his backup attorney.
June 20-26, 1982:
Four witnesses testified that Mumia Abu-Jamal shot Officer Faulkner. One witness testified regarding the beating of William Cook just prior to the shooting. A ballistics expert testified that the wound suffered by Mumia was inflicted by Officer Faulkner's weapon, which would place him at the scene.
June 25, 1982:
Two witnesses, one a security guard and one Daniel Faulkner's former partner, testified in court that, while in the hospital that night, they overheard Mumia saying he "had shot" the officer and that he "hoped he died". It's possible that this evidence could have been misconstrued as a "confession" that would NOT be on public record.
June 28-30, 1982:
Mumia Abu-Jamal's defense consisted of a witness testifying that someone ran from the scene, a prostitute who was under the influence of marijuana during the shooting and testified that two people ran from the scene, and character witnesses describing Mumia as a peaceful, sensitive man.
July 2-3, 1982:
Mumia Abu-Jamal was found guilty after 5 hours of deliberation and a sentence recommendation was passed for him to die in the electric chair.
August 31, 1982:
Mumia Abu-Jamal was segregated after a fight with guards at Holmesburg Prison.
May 26, 1983:
Mumia Abu-Jamal was sentenced to die in the electric chair. He then told Judge Albert Sabo, "Judge, you have just sentenced yourself to die." (Philadelphia Inquirer)
March 10, 1989:
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court denied the appeal of Mumia Abu-Jamal's case, finding no reason to overturn the decision of Judge Albert Sabo and the jury in 1981.
A new trial was requested on June 6, 1995. The retrial was finally denied, after much to-do, on September 15, 1995.
More information, and the articles from which this information and all quotes
ped, can be found at www.fortunecity.com/meltingpot/botswana/509/inqarticles/inquirer-index.htm .
The point I'm trying to make in including all this information is that after all this time, and all this bullshit, the reality
is being ignored
: Officer Daniel Faulkner died. He's dead. He can't come back. All reliable evidence
presented thus far points to Wesley Cook as the perpetrator of the crime. He was convicted by a jury, and was sentenced to death by that same jury. Obviously, people think what he did was wrong. Black or not, what he did was wrong. If he was a Jewish Nazi
longhaired skinhead, what he did would STILL BE WRONG
People have tried to use Mumia Abu-Jamal as a figurehead for all those people who truly are innocent and sit on death row because of a lack of proficient defense. If you're going to pick a figurehead, pick someone who fits the mold. Obviously, the use of him to bring about the point has failed; there are still people undeservingly sentenced to death.
Mumia ain't one of 'em.
: Just because I wrote it, doesn't mean you have to like it. Check out the articles and see for yourself.
Groups who support Mumia, for whatever reason:
found by a Yahoo! search for Mumia Abu-Jamal
It occurs to me that not one of these groups is based in Philadelphia. Wonder why that is.
- Free Mumia
- International Concerned Friends and Family of Mumia Abu-Jamal
- Grinnell Coalition in Defense of Mumia Abu-Jamal
- Support for Mumia Abu-Jamal
- Twin Cities Coalition to Defend Mumia Abu-Jamal
: In reading your writeup, I noticed that while claiming to have read both sides, the information you present is deeply
rooted in the "Free Mumia
" side of the case. Some of the questions you raised were even already answered by my writeup:
- As for Mumia's judge, who has sentenced the most people to death in the US: Six former Philadelphia prosecutors have sworn in court
statements that no accused could receive a fair trial in the court of Judge Albert Sabo.
- The fact that Judge Sabo was almost exclusively given death-penalty cases in his tenure has been neglected. (See plonk plonk's writeup above.) Surely, that fact alone would throw off such statistics. Also neglected is the fact that sentencing is performed by a jury, not the judge.
- Mumia was denied the right to participate in his own trial.
- If you were in court during a murder trial and the defendant were being horribly disruptive for no particular reason, wouldn't you want him removed? Even Mumia's lawyer said that what Mumia did was unnecessary and disruptive. Also, the judge ruled later that Mumia's attempt to represent himself was none other than another ploy to disrupt the trial. The man made a mockery of himself; no one had to do it for him.
- The shots themselves don't match up.
- Please, oh please, go back and read all the reports of what actually happened that night! I already said this, but I'll say it again. Mumia shot Officer Faulkner in the back while the officer was trying to arrest William Cook. The shot fired at Mumia was fired when the officer was down. Presumably, the guy could roll over in an attempt to defend himself.
- There were only two blacks on the jury, in a city which is 40% black.
- Mumia had been intimidating jury members left and right. The jury has to be able to sit through the trial, right? After 9 days, I think it's safe to say that although the jury was not exactly representative of Philadelphia society, they were chosen because they would be able to tolerate and survive the circus that was Mumia's trial.
I'll grant that there were some horrible discrepancies on both sides of this issue. But the fact of the matter is that given what went on, no judge in his right mind would ever grant a retrial, if only to prevent the sheer torture
of making 12 jurors, the judge, and the lawyers go through all this all over again.
Have some compassion for the family of Dan Faulkner, too. These people lost a son, a brother, a cousin, a father, an uncle, and a friend. Give them some closure.
Oh, and by the way.... In fact, most people against Mumia are just anti-activists who haven't
even researched the case. Pardon? *cough* *sneeze* *muffled obscenities* A: I grew up in the Philadelphia area, where people are still very gung-ho on both sides, and I was bombarded with it from birth. B: bullshit. I did research. You can see a lot of it in this writeup. Just because people don't agree with you doesn't mean what they say is unfounded. And C: I'm not an anti-activist. I just choose my fights. This is something I disagree with vehemently, and I've said my piece. Thank you.
*cough* sorry, one final note. I just now did a Google
search on this guy. The first twenty-nine -- yes, twenty-nine -- findings are all "Free Mumia
" pages. Go figure. The thirtieth is a compilation put together by Philadelphia
Online, the first completely factual
webpage listed at all. Well, I guess we know where people get their information from. :/
Update: Please see an addendum on under June 25, 1982
regarding the supposed confessions of Mumia.
Also, for ukyoCE's magic .44-caliber bullet theory, a 1995 ballistics test overturned that theory by indicating that the bullet was most likely a .38, which was the caliber of Mumia's pistol. (Source: Philadelphia Daily News editorial)
Also, for reference, on December 21, 2001, Mumia's death-penalty sentence was overturned (source: CNN.com), and he was given 180 days for a new sentence, or else he will be given a life sentence. Let's see what happens. It should be mentioned, though, that the review board specifically mentioned that the FACTS OF THE CASE PROVE BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT that Mumia is GUILTY OF THE CRIME FOR WHICH HE WAS CONVICTED.