A fifty minute video has recently been posted to YouTube
about the aftermath of the trial of convicted murderer Mumia Abu-Jamal, (a summary of whose case can be found here
). Narrated by A List actor Danny Glover, the documentary, if one may call it that, covers a lot of ground but is concerned primarily with what it contends to be the biased and distorted media coverage of the case, especially by a 20/20
documentary screened in December 1998, seventeen years to the day after the murder of Officer Daniel Faulkner.
It is stressed throughout Framing An Execution: Mumia Abu-Jamal & The Media
that the facts of the case are “highly disputed”, and 20/20
is taken to task for accepting the prosecution case. As the jury accepted it, and as all the tribunals of appeal that have looked at it have also accepted the prosecution case, this is an eminently reasonable position for 20/20
to have taken. A jury may decide truth by a democratic vote – after hearing all the relevant facts – but to suggest that the public should decide the truth by a vote on the basis of wilful misrepresentation, is akin to suggesting that just because there appear to be two sides to an argument, they deserve equal time and command equal consideration, a clearly ludicrous proposition, especially when as in this case, the defense has twisted the truth, and fabricated evidence.
To take just two examples, the testimonies of Veronica Jones and William Singletary:
Veronica Jones – now deceased – appears in the film wherein she claims that she was offered “a deal” to implicate Abu-Jamal as the killer of Officer Faulkner. Her evidence was examined in great detail by the appellant court, whose October 1998 findings of fact can be found here
. Veronica Jones – the woman the gullible songwriter Kevin Price called a working class hero
– was not an eyewitness to the crime; she did not see anything meaningful, and her promotion by Abu-Jamal’s supporters is simply an attempt to muddy the waters.
The evidence of William Singletary
is not simply not credible but in
credible. While the video says a lot about the treatment allegedly meted out to Mr Singletary at the time, it doesn’t say what he claims Officer Faulkner said: “get Maureen” and/or “get the children”. This testimony was rejected by the appellant court after having been found to be “not credible”, the fact that Daniel Faulkner and his wife Maureen had no children being marginally less significant than the fact that the bullet Abu-Jamal put in the Officer’s brain rendered any such comment impossible.
Abu-Jamal’s one-time lawyer Leonard Weinglass makes a number of statements in this film that are simply untrue, such as the claim that the ballistics evidence favours the defense rather than the prosecution.
Abu-Jamal’s confession is alluded to as “fantastical”; in fact this is a total distortion; this confession was not a confession as such but a boast made when Abu-Jamal was at the hospital with a bullet from Faulkner’s gun in his chest. Clearly, he thought he was going to die, and if the wicked, racist
police had wanted him to die (without due process) that would have been very easy for them to have arranged. The fact that the police did not immediately document this “confession” is explained very easily when one considers the circumstances of his arrest; probably the last thing any of them considered would have been the suggestion that Abu-Jamal would actually deny shooting Daniel Faulkner.
The great irony of this film – or should that be chutzpah
? – is that it all the allegations it makes against both 20/20
and the American criminal justice system could be levelled far more accurately against the people who scripted and directed it.
Let us deal finally with the claim that the murder trial was rigged. Far from being unfair, it was scrupulously fair; anyone who takes the trouble to examine the transcript or more importantly the appellant rulings will see that. Abu-Jamal’s trial was fair for a very good reason, he was “obviously guilty”, and where a defendant is obviously guilty – quote unquote – of an heinous crime, the State will bend over backwards to be fair. This is something that happens in both the United States and Britain, and probably in many other countries too, and the reason for it is not far to seek. The authorities don’t want to see a murderer – or in many cases a serial killer – walk free on appeal due to some ludicrous technicality. The reader can confirm this by an examination of notorious trials such as those of Ted Bundy
and Dr Harold Shipman
. These two are of course in a different league entirely from Abu-Jamal as far as the enormity of their crimes is concerned, but the execution of a police officer in the line of duty is serious enough to warrant if not a death sentence then the removal of the offender from society for a considerable period, if not permanently.
Although to date Framing An Execution: Mumia Abu-Jamal & The Media
has been viewed by less than fifty people on YouTube, it is far from new, and has almost certainly been so posted as a prelude to a renewed campaign by the Mumidiots; don't be surprised if there is a sudden deluge of publicity in the coming months, of the same old proven lies with perhaps some supposedly fresh evidence, maybe even a new
eyewitness, incredible though that may seem.
As a rule of thumb, before watching a documentary of this nature, it is not a bad idea to read up on the background to the case; especially helpful are any findings of fact by an appellant court. This is not of course a guarantee of total veracity much less of accuracy, but if nothing else it will help the viewer see when an attempt is being made to misled him wilfully, something that is clearly happening here.