There are two sides to the Mumia story; there is the trial in which he was convicted of the murder of Officer Daniel Faulkner followed by the findings of fact of the appellate courts, all of which have upheld his conviction. Every single one.
Then there is the Mumia is innocent side
which is espoused by his supporters, though curiously, Mumia Abu-Jamal himself has never actually denied shooting Officer Faulkner in a courtroom. The proceedings, which he sabotaged throughout, were a truly bizarre affair. Although he was accused of shooting Faulkner in the back and then standing over him and putting a bullet in his brain, he elected not to testify at his capital murder trial. One of the witnesses to the crime was his brother, William Cook. One would have thought that with his brother on trial for his life, Wiliam Cook would have stepped forward not only to say "My brother did not shoot Officer Faulkner" but to name the actual perpetrator. Curiously, he elected not to testify either, even though he was present at the trial.
Like convicted murderess Linda Carty
, convicted and executed murderer Troy Davis
, convicted murderess Zoora Shah
, convicted murderer Satpal Ram
, and way back in the 1960s, convicted and executed murderer James Hanratty
, Mumia Abu-Jamal has attracted a small army of supporters, though not so small in his case. These people are largely a) dumb, b) ignorant, or c) they just don't care, having an ideological commitment to what they think he stands for that far outweighs any commitment to truth, objectivity, logic, evidence, reason, and most of all, justice, that any of them may have.
The judicial process in American capital cases is notoriously slow, but it is seldom as slow as this. The reason Mumia has not been executed - the only reason - is because his small but dedicated army of liars and much larger army of dupes have managed to engineer a lengthy sequence of totally spurious appeals.
Though all these appeals have failed, a decade ago a judge decided his death sentence should be overturned on a technicality, and a new sentencing hearing held.
In the past few years there has been a very major development in the Mumia saga outside the courtroom, the arrival on the scene of the independent film maker Tigre Hill.
Himself a native Phillian, Hill shot to fame in 2006 for his documentary The Shame Of A City
, which exposed the shabby state of local politics in his hometown, something one suspects is unique neither to Philadelphia nor the United States.
When he decided to make a film about the supposedly controversial case of Mumia Abu-Jamal, many thought that, being a brother, Hill would follow the line of all black radicals, that poor, persecuted Mumia was framed by the racist
system, blah, blah, blah.
Unfortunately, Mumia's supporters overlooked a quality in Hill they themselves lack: integrity. Hill's documentary about the murder of Daniel Faulkner and its aftermath, The Barrel Of A Gun
, laid it on the line. Hill said that when he read up on the case he was fairly certain Mumia was guilty, but he was surprised
if not shocked at just how compelling was the evidence against him.
Overnight he was transformed from iconic film maker into an Uncle Tom, something that has obviously hurt him deeply, although he tries not to show it.
There is a special showing of Hill's acclaimed film on December 8
at the Keswick Theater, Glenside, Philadelphia, tickets are $20.00.
Unfortunately, Hill is not the only person to have made a film recently about Mumia; the other film is by Johanna Fernández who somehow earned, or was awarded, a PhD in History. Her film about the man she describes as one of the most important intellectuals
of our time is called Justice On Trial
If that is her opinion of a convicted and affirmed cop killer, one might expect her to hold a somewhat higher opinion of a Black President and a Nobel Peace Prize winner to boot. Guess again. Although she doesn't actually use the phrase, it is clear that in her eyes Barack Obama is also an Uncle Tom.
Unsurprisingly, Fernández is an enthusiastic proponent of the fallacious doctrine of statistical racism
, and never tires of repeating the vacuous statistic that 30% of young black men are in prison, parole or probation. (See video at previous link, although here she omits parole or probation).
While she would obviously like to see Mumia freed, it is not clear if she would also like to see serial killer Terry Blair
turned loose on the American public so that he can rape and murder another seven black women.
For a woman who makes so much noise about racism
, Fernández hasn't done so badly out of the racist
system herself, having recently received a Fullbright Scholars grant.
Hill and Fernández were recently given space to proclaim their diametrically opposed versions of Mumia in connection with this gruesome 30th anniversary. His documentation can be found here
. Her flight of fancy can be found here
The Daniel Faulkner website
contains masses of documentation, including the trial and appeal transcripts as well as lengthy rebuttals of every single myth peddled about Mumia from the supposedly unreliable forensics to the testimony of perjured defense witnesses and their new affidavits, which the appellate courts have refused to entertain.
An analysis of an earlier Mumia film hagiography can be found here
While the cop killer himself is unlikely to celebrate a raucous 30th anniversary of the most significant act of his life, he has only himself to blame for having spent the last thirty years in a toilet sized windowless room. If he had come clean at the time and allowed his attorney to do his job, he might just have beat down a capital charge to second degree murder, and have been parolled ten years ago. But if he had done that he would have been just another run of the mill punk who lost it in a moment of madness, instead of one of the most important intellectuals of our time, if only in the eyes of his delusional supporters.