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Mumia Breaks Silence on Faulkner Shooting

On Friday, May 4, attorneys for radical journalist and death row inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal released an affidavit from their client in which Mumia for the first time definitively denied any role in the 1981 killing of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner. Mumia's statement marks the first time he has publicly spoken out about details of what occurred the night Faulkner was killed.
On Friday, May 4, attorneys for radical journalist and death row inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal released an affidavit from their client in which Mumia for the first time definitively denied any role in the 1981 killing of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner. Mumia's statement marks the first time he has publicly spoken out about details of what occurred the night Faulkner was killed.

"I never confessed to anything because I had nothing to confess to," Mumia states in his affidavit. "I never said I shot the policeman. I did not shoot the policeman. I never said I hoped he died. I would never say something like that." Police have asserted that Mumia shouted, "I shot the mother fucker and I hope he dies," after he was brought to the hospital for treatment for a gunshot wound that occurred at the scene of the incident -- a charge Mumia's affidavit flatly refutes.

Mumia's statement, dated May 3, was accompanied by an affidavit that Jamal's brother William Cook provided in late April, in which Cook also for the first time definitively denied that either he or Mumia played any role in Faulkner's death. Cook's affidavit also states that he would have been willing to step forward on Mumia's behalf much earlier, in both 1999 and at Mumia's post conviction relief proceedings in 1995, if he'd been asked by Mumia's former legal team.

On Friday, Mumia's attorneys also released a 1999 affidavit from Arnold Beverly, who alleges that he played a role in the assassination of Faulkner -- shooting Faulkner in the face -- and which also asserts that Mumia played no role in Faulkner's killing. In his statement, Beverly asserts that Faulkner had been targeted by the mob and crooked Philly cops for execution because he'd "interfered with the graft and payoffs made to allow illegal activity including prostitution, gambling, drugs without prosecution in the center city area."

"Mumia Abu-Jamal was in the wrong place at the wrong time when a hit was in progress on a police officer who was causing problems interfering with police corruption," Los Angeles lawyer Eliot Lee Grossman, a member of Mumia's new legal team, told the Philadelphia Inquirer on May 4.

Mumia's public pronouncement of his innocence, along with the release of the Cook and Beverly affidavits and additional information attesting to rampant corruption on the Philly police department at the time, is expected to intensify international pressure for a new trial in the case. Mumia has garnered support from groups and individuals that range from Hollywood luminaries to European trade unions. Supporters are planning to convene a 'Free Mumia Encampment' in front of Philadelphia's city hall beginning Friday, May 11, with major demonstrations planned in Philadelphia and other cities on May 12 as part of an international day of solidarity with Mumia.

"This information represents the first accurate accounting of what really happened on December 9, 1981," says Tracy Kostenbader of the Chicago Committee to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal, who"s been working on Mumia's case since 1991. "These affidavits from Mumia and his brother represent statements of fact, based on their recollection of what happened that night nearly 20 years ago -- not a theory or a fabrication. We plan to fight like hell to see that the truth prevails."

Mumia fired his long-time attorneys Leonard Weinglass, Dan Williams, and the rest of his legal team in early March of this year, after Mumia learned in late February that Williams planned to publish an 'inside account' of the case. According to press reports, both Weinglass and Williams have declined to elaborate on why they chose not to use Beverly's June 1999 affidavit, which prosecutors have vigorously derided as a 'fabrication.'

Mumia's new legal team -- Grossman, Marlene Kamish of Chicago, British barrister Nick Brown of London, and J. Michael Farrell of Philadelphia -- filed Notices of Appearance with the U.S. district court on Friday, effectively granting them formal standing as Mumia's new legal team. Reports and rumors have circulated for years that Faulker's killing may have been related to a mob hit or police corruption. But Mumia's new legal team is clearly less reticent than his former attorneys in openly pressing forward with this new accounting of Faulkner's shooting -- and with public pronouncements from Mumia and Cook that attest to Mumia's innocence.

Despite prosecutors' claims to the press that Beverly's affidavit is 'ridiculous,' the Philadelphia police department's long tradition of corruption and criminal wrongdoing remains undisputed. Hundreds of criminal prosecutions were reversed and the city of Philadelphia was forced to pay out millions of dollars in settlements in the wake of a police scandal that broke in 1995. Charges of police wrongdoing related to the scandal date back at least a decade prior to 1995, with civilians alleging police wrongdoing that ranged from coerced confessions and planted evidence to assault and torture. Public debate on the topic erupted again nationally last year when an ABC helicopter crew released video tape showing Philadelphia police beating and kicking a suspect accused of shooting a police officer and stealing a police car. Relatives of the beating victim, 30-year-old Thomas Jones, have hotly contested official versions of the incident, arguing that Jones did not fire a gun and fled only because police were beating him. Philadelphia police brutality opponents have charged that the 1995 police corruption scandal and Jones' beating underscore a decades-long pattern of police lawlessness and abuse.

In the meantime, Mumia's stay of execution remains in place while he and his legal team await a ruling from U.S. District Judge William H. Yohn Jr. on whether Mumia will be granted new evidentiary hearings. Yohn could choose instead to decide the appeal based on Mumia's trial and appeals records in the state courts, which legal experts and his supporters have charged were deeply flawed.

Mumia has argued that his constitutional rights were violated during both his 1982 trial before Common Pleas Judge Albert F. Sabo and in a 1995 state post-conviction appeal hearing over which Sabo also presided. Sabo has been widely criticized by human rights activists for what they assert is an egregious record of pro-police bias, earning him the moniker of 'king of death row' for his record of sentencing more defendants to death than any other sitting judge in the nation. Sabo served as Philadelphia's undersheriff for 16 years before being elected to the bench.

For more information about the May 11-13 Free Mumia Encampment in Philadelphia, contact:
Int'l Concerned Family & Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal: 215-476-8812
International Action Center: 212-633-6646
Free Mumia Coalition: 212-330-8029
Refuse & Resist: 212-713-5657
For more info and pdf file of leaflet, go to: www.iacboston.org
PDX Mumia Demo? 08.May.2001 09:37

Bakunin

Will there be a PDX Mumia Demo on the 12th? Does anyone know?

Funny, Sad, or Just Pathetic? 08.May.2001 13:33

Pat Kincaid laughter@aol.com

Geez, where to begin? First off affidavits sworn to one's lawyer are wonderful things aren't they? No cross-examination, you just get to talk.

Anyway, somehow Jamal in everything he recounts that night forgets how he ended up holding his own gun, with chambers empty, in his own hand.

Again he makes the claim of being beaten at the scene, though there is no medical report at the hospital of injuries indicating that it happened.

As for Jamal's brother and "Poppi"s, affidavit... I literally laughed aloud. I thought he was going to say he was in the grassy knoll next. Convenient how not only does Faulkner not only have the bad luck to pull over the taxi containing his own 'hitman', just happened to be dressed in the same outfit that Jamal was wearing!



PK