Linn Washington Jr. 23.09.2010 11:42
On December 4, 1969 Chicago police assassinated a charismatic Black Panther Party leader named Fred Hampton while he slept during a federally instigated raid that later investigations’ confirmed was a politically motivated murder.

On December 14, 1969 over 1,000 people packed North Philadelphia’s venerable Church of the Advocate for a program mourning that murdered Hampton where one of the speakers was a teenaged Philadelphia BPP branch official named Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Abu-Jamal criticized the nationwide police killings of BPP members, a critique indignantly dismissed by governmental authorities as violent Black radicals spewing inaccurate accusations.
However, following the Hampton murder, many moderate voices in the black community publicly decried the seeming coordinated campaign of police assaults on Panthers – a group opposed to the police brutality then rampant in black communities…brutality that continues today.

In December 1969 National Urban League Director Whitney Young called on the U.S. Attorney General to investigative the murders of Panthers across America “by law enforcement officials.”

That same month Carl T. Rowen, a black columnist nationally syndicated in over 100 white newspapers, castigated what he called a “nationally orchestrated police campaign to turn guns on the Panthers and wipe them out.”

On December 9, 1981 Philadelphia police arrested Abu-Jamal, then a respected radio reporter, charging him with killing policeman Daniel Faulkner.

Months later, during Abu-Jamal’s murder trial, prosecutors argued his teenaged BPP membership inspired that 12/81 murder…an argument that swayed jurors to send the journalist with no prior criminal record to death row despite Abu-Jamal’s pleas of innocence.
Today, twenty-eight-years after Abu-Jamal’s conviction his case remains contentious.
Many, like Philadelphia’s police union, support Abu-Jamal’s execution – which a federal appeals court in Philadelphia is re-examining – while multitudes worldwide proclaim Abu-Jamal’s innocence including activist Fred Hampton Jr., the son of the BPP leader slain in 1969.

And today (9/21/2010) two documentary films about the Abu-Jamal case that reach different conclusions regarding contested facts will premiere at separate locations in Center City at 8PM this evening.

The work by Philadelphia-based filmmaker Tigre Hill “The Barrel of a Gun” receives its special showing at the Merriam Theater that incorporates a fund raiser featuring the widow of slain officer Daniel Faulkner.

Hill, in a posting on Facebook last Tuesday afternoon, urged his supporters to fill each of the Merriam’s 1800 seats to counter the documentary film “Justice On Trial: The Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal” produced by New York-based history professor Johanna Fernandez that is scheduled to premier at the Ritz East.

That Facebook posting by Hill claimed, “Telling the truth while up against extremely angry and unconscionable people, like Mumia Abu-Jamal and his supporters, is not an easy task.”
Work on the dueling documentaries by Fernandez and Hill began in 2006.

Fernandez says an impetus for releasing her film at this time were trailer’s for Hill’s film that “pointed to rehashing of the basic arguments put forth [by the prosecutor in 1982] who wanted to win a death sentence by any means necessary. We want to elevate the dialogue at a time when reasoned voices are needed.”

The title of Hill’s film comes from one of the more controversial twists during Abu-Jamal’s 1982 trial.

Weeks after Abu-Jamal’s 1969 Church of the Advocate address he told a Philadelphia Inquirer reporter that the widespread police assaults on BPP members, including Hampton’s murder and a 12/8/69 police raid sparked shootout at the BPP’s Los Angeles office, underscored the observation of Chinese Communist leader Mao Zedong that “political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.”

During Abu-Jamal’s trial, the prosecutor twisted Abu-Jamal’s Inquirer article observation completely out of context arguing Abu-Jamal advocated killing cops (not criticizing cops killing Panthers)…proclaiming Abu-Jamal killed Faulkner to make a political statement using a gun.

Hill, during an interview last week, said his research for his film produced “fascinating” information he didn’t previously know like Mao being a “role model” for the BPP’s “philosophy.”

That research, Hill said, convinced him of Abu-Jamal’s guilt.

The murder of Faulkner, Hill reflected, is a “tragic story on all sides: an officer is dead and a man of many talents is on death row.”

Although Hill is convinced of Abu-Jamal’s “open and shut” guilt, scenes in a trailer for his film contradicts that assessment. For example, multiple police crime scene photos Hill used in that trailer released last fall do not show a taxi cab whose driver proclaimed at Abu-Jamal’s trial that he parked directly behind Faulkner’s patrol car.

That missing cab shows either its driver testified falsely for the prosecution or police removed the cab thus improperly tampering with crime scene evidence.

Another thing missing from Faulkner murder crime scene photos are bullet marks in the sidewalk where key prosecution witnesses declared Abu-Jamal shot the fallen officer, firing four times but striking him only once.

Yesterday (9/20) author/journalist Dave Lindorff and I posted an investigative report on the This Can’t Be Happening website presenting a gun fire test showing bullets, like those police said Abu-Jamal used, leaving clearly visible marks when fired into a sidewalk.
The markings from that test raise serious questions about the ‘barrel of a gun’ premise of the prosecution’s case that sent Abu-Jamal to death row.

Irrespective of films and articles, the Abu-Jamal case cries out for a fair retrial to resolve questions that fan controversy.
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Report Blows Holes in Mumia Abu-Jamal's

Conviction 23.09.2010 - 11:53

Test Shows Missing Evidence and Falsified Testimony from Key Witnesses in Abu-Jamal Trial

During the contentious 1982 murder trial of Mumia Abu-Jamal a critical part of the prosecution’s case for sending this journalist to death row was testimony of two eyewitnesses who claimed seeing Abu-Jamal repeatedly firing his pistol into defenseless Officer Daniel Faulkner at virtually point-blank range.
While this testimony solidified the prosecution’s argument of Abu-Jamal being a cold-blooded assassin it never answered the lingering question of why, if Abu-Jamal had fired four bullets down at Faulkner, only hitting him once between the eyes, there was no evidence in the sidewalk around the officer’s body of the bullets that missed.

Now two independent journalists have raised further questions about that troubling lack of bullet mark evidence by doing something that neither defense nor prosecution ever bothered to do, namely conducting a gun test using a similar .38-caliber revolver and similar high-velocity bullets fired from a similar distance into a slab of old concrete sidewalk similar to the sidewalk at the scene of the original December 9, 1981 shooting on the south side of Locust Street just east of 13th Street in Center City, Philadelphia.

Their test conclusively demonstrated it is impossible to fire such a gun into a sidewalk without the bullets leaving prominent, clearly visible marks. Yet, the prosecution’s case has Abu-Jamal performing that exact miracle, missing the officer three times without leaving a trace of his bad marksmanship.
So where are the missing bullet marks?

The police crime scene photos presented to the jury at trial didn’t show any, and police investigators in their reports didn’t mention any bullet marks on the sidewalk around the slain officer’s body.

Further, gunshots fired into a sidewalk would produce fragments either from bullets or materials blown out of the sidewalk yet neither the coroner’s report nor a police report on the analysis of Faulkner’s uniform make any mention of bullet or sidewalk fragments on the slain officer.

We provided a crime scene photo and our gun test result photo to a veteran NASA photo analyst whose examination using sophisticated technology discovered no bullet marks in the police photo. This scientist confirmed that the police photo should have contained visible bullet marks comparable to the test photo if Abu-Jamal acted as the prosecution claimed.

While appellate courts have consistently upheld Abu-Jamal’s conviction, no court has considered this contradiction between prosecution claims and gunfire test results showing it physically impossible to shoot into a sidewalk without leaving visible marks.

Last week the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office declined to respond to four questions regarding results of this gun test. A DA spokesperson curtly dismissed results of this test as yet another instance of “misconceptions” regularly raised by persons lacking knowledge of “the entirety of the record…”
The Abu-Jamal case is back in the news with two new documentary films about the matter premiering in Philadelphia this week. Multiple discrepancies in the Abu-Jamal case cry out for a fair retrial to resolve questions that fan controversy internationally.

We're with Mumia all the way!

Mexico City 01.10.2010 - 22:38

From Mexico City: We're with Mumia all the way!

"The New Jim Crow"

by Mumia Abu-Jamal 01.10.2010 - 22:45

"The New Jim Crow"
[Book Review: 6/30/10] (c) '10 Mumia Abu-Jamal

Mumia's defense on coming oral arguments

by Robert R. Bryan 01.10.2010 - 22:54

Legal update from Robert R. Bryan, lead counsel (22.09.10)