Dec 17, 2001
On December 8th about 600 people demonstrated in Philadelphia in defense of Mumia Abu-Jamal, the former Black Panther, who has spent 20 years in prison, falsely charged and convicted of murdering a cop. 100 Philadelphia cops responded, wielding clubs and attacking the demonstrators. One protestor suffered a concussion, another a fractured tail bone and a third a dislocated jaw. Nonetheless it was the demonstrators who were arrested: eight are now facing felony charges, including conspiracy to riot.
The demonstration protested the decision of Common Pleas Court Judge Pamela Dembe, who had ruled two weeks before that she didn’t have jurisdiction to order a new trial. According to Dembe, the new evidence Mumia’s lawyers wanted to present could not be heard because they missed the deadline. Their evidence includes the sworn confession by another man that he, and not Abu-Jamal, killed officer Daniel Faulkner in December 1981. It also included statements and documentation that the cops had suborned perjury by their main witnesses in the first trial.
Nonetheless, the judge ruled it was too late to hear the evidence.
In other words, Abu-Jamal might be innocent, but he will not have a chance to prove it. The judge is willing to let an innocent man be executed because he missed a deadline.
This is no surprise – this is the kind of reasoning the judicial system has used all along. They aren’t willing to let Mumia have his day in court to prove his innocence. At the same time, they have a problem since for most of the rest of the world Mumia Abu-Jamal is an innocent man, a political prisoner. Thus they tie up his case in the maze of the courts, waiting for attention to die down.
Nor was it a surprise to see the cops attack the demonstration. They want to brush this whole stinking case under the rug. They were the ones who tried to set up Mumia in the first place because of his political activity.
Abu-Jamal was a young journalist who was constantly exposing the corruption and brutality of the Philadelphia police when he was set up. He deserves our support.