One People's Project
PHILADELPHIA, PA – The city D.A. announced today that they have given up their fight to execute Mumia Abu-Jamal, the journalist many people believe was unjustly convicted of killing a city police officer thirty years ago Friday, opting instead to allow him to serve a life term. Despite this, Mumia’s supporters have vowed to continue their efforts to prove his innocence and free him from prison.
"There's never been any doubt in my mind that Mumia Abu-Jamal shot and killed Officer Faulkner. I believe that the appropriate sentence was handed down by a jury of his peers in 1982," District Attorney Seth Williams, the city's first black district attorney, said in a press conference today. "While Abu-Jamal will no longer be facing the death penalty, he will remain behind bars for the rest of his life, and that is where he belongs."
On December 9, 1981, Police officer Daniel Faulkner was shot killed during a traffic stop involving Mumia’s brother on 13th and Locust St. Mumia, a local popular journalist that spoke out on behalf of the poor and black communities, was moonlighting as a cab driver when shot by Faulkner as he approached the traffic stop and was at the scene when police arrived. After being convicted and sentenced to death, evidence began to mount that witnesses were coerced into implicating Mumia in the Faulkner shooting, the investigation into the shooting was incomplete and some evidence presented seemed to have been fabricated. One infamous instance was the report that Mumia remarked upon being taken to the hospital, “I shot the motherfucker and I hope he dies”, but this statement didn’t first appear on any reports until two months after the incident and just after Mumia filed a police brutality complaint. On the evening of the shooting, a report was filed that indicated, “The Negro made no statements.”
Mumia case became an international rallying cry for those opposed to police brutality, the death penalty and racial injustice. Furthering his support were his writings and radio reports from prison, including a stint on NPR.
In 2001, Mumia death sentence was overturned because the trial judge’s instructions to the jury were faulty and the jury form was misleading. In October the Supreme Court refused to hear the city appeals, leaving them with the option to seek a new sentencing hearing or let him serve a life sentence. Before the press conference, writer Dave Lindorff predicted that D.A. Williams would not pursue a new hearing because today’s social climate is not as racist as it was thirty years ago, Mumia being a model citizen may receive time served, and the possibility of the sentencing hearing sparking another trial. “This means that those of us who believe that Abu-Jamal's original trial was a scandal of the worst proportions, and that his guilt was never proven, thanks to the epic misconduct of the prosecution, the induced lying by prosecution witnesses, the clear pro-prosecution bias of the judge, the ineptness of the defense attorney, the racist packing of the jury, the lack of funding for any defense experts, and myriad other flaws, will have to work all the harder at trying to win this long-suffering victim of the American injustice system a new trial, not on the penalty, but on his original conviction,” he wrote.
On Friday, there will be an event at the Constitution Center in Philadelphia to observe the 30