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Mumia Abu-Jamal's death sentence thrown out
December 18, 2001 10:42 AM   Subscribe

Mumia Abu-Jamal's death sentence thrown out Surprised I haven't seen this one up, even the story's just now hitting the news sites. Wonder what this portends. Um, maybe the American justice system works OK after all, even if justice comes slowly? Or did all the pressure (and time too, maybe) help advocates build a good case? What?
posted by raysmj (68 comments total)

 
You know... there are lot of people here in Philly who would seriously disagree with your presumption of Mumia's innocence. I understand that he's a favorite cause of liberals everywhere, but how much do you really know about the case?
posted by ph00dz at 10:48 AM on December 18, 2001


The judge refused Abu-Jamal's request for a new trial, upholding his 1982 conviction on first-degree murder charges.

what may happen, thus, is that abu-jamal may be imprisoned for life rather than executed. written in the article is exactly that scenario, which would take place definitely if abu-jamal is not given a new sentencing hearing:

``Should the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania not have conducted a new sentencing hearing ... the Commonwealth shall sentence petitioner to life imprisonment,'' the judge said in his 272-page ruling.

i don't know enough about the trial to say one way or the other, but life imprisonment looks like the best the free-mumia crowd can hope for.
posted by moz at 10:49 AM on December 18, 2001


I'm not sure how much of a success this is for Mumia's supporters -- it's just a new sentencing hearing, not a new trial. Here's the CNN story. Can somebody here explain the ramifications of this a little better?
posted by muckster at 10:49 AM on December 18, 2001


I didn't say anything about his innocence or guilt, so back off a little, thanks. I have no idea, but it did sound like a new trial was warranted, given the confusion - and I thought it might be granted, despite the "America is racist" stuff. Meantime, here's another article.
posted by raysmj at 10:50 AM on December 18, 2001


excuse me, right, just a new sentencing. Now, I imagine the "racism" stuff will go on, probably.
posted by raysmj at 10:53 AM on December 18, 2001


All I know about the case I learned from the documentary "Mumia: A Case for Reasonable Doubt." While it's clearly a slanted view with an agenda, the film went a long way toward convincing me that something fishy was going on, and that Mumia deserves a new trial.

Amnesty International's report on Abu-Jamal is online and concludes: "Based on its review of the trial transcript and other original documents, Amnesty International has determined that numerous aspects of this case clearly failed to meet minimum international standards safeguarding the fairness of legal proceedings. Amnesty International therefore believes that the interests of justice would best be served by the granting of a new trial to Mumia Abu-Jamal. "
posted by muckster at 10:58 AM on December 18, 2001


It would be nice if any of the linked articles said WHY this judge came across with this ruling.
posted by revbrian at 10:59 AM on December 18, 2001


[Amnesty International has determined that numerous aspects of this case clearly failed to meet minimum international standards...]

I suppose it's a shame he wasn't being tried in an international court then?
posted by revbrian at 11:00 AM on December 18, 2001


You know... there are lot of people here in Philly who would seriously disagree with your presumption of Mumia's innocence.

Interesting choice of words :) ... I'd only presume him innocent in-as-much as there were serious issues with the way his trial was conducted that make it so I do not believe he was [b]fairly proven guilty[/b]. I certainly don't agree with the "Free Mumia" crowd, but all the evidence I've seen about how screwy the first trial was makes is clear to me that he deserves a new trial.

And, as a fellow Philly native, you should well know there were real problems with racism in law enforcement in Philly.
posted by malphigian at 11:15 AM on December 18, 2001


er, sorry about the UBB codes there, forgot I was on metafilter and shoulda used html.
posted by malphigian at 11:16 AM on December 18, 2001


...in other news, the cop Abu-Jamal killed? Still dead. His wife? Still grieving for her murdered husband.

Of course, no one gives a shit about that.
posted by UncleFes at 11:23 AM on December 18, 2001


Mumia is not free. What he won was a moral victory, with the judge finding that his sentencing was carried out improperly. His attempt to win a new trial - and from there a not guilty verdict - was rejected by the judge.

The best Mumia can hope for now is life in prison. Compared to death in prison, I expect his supporters would call that a substantial victory.

The worst Mumia can face is another death sentence. If that is the outcome, his supporters will have to comfort themselves with the fact that they won him some time and prompted discussion of the death penalty itself.
posted by sacre_bleu at 11:25 AM on December 18, 2001


Um, maybe the American justice system works OK after all, even if justice comes slowly?

raysmj--

I gotta agree with ph00dz...

That sentence makes it sound like you don't believe justice was served, which could lead some to believe that you think he's innocent. Or at the very least, that the crime he was convicted of doesn't warrant the death penalty.
posted by dogmatic at 11:28 AM on December 18, 2001


Of course, no one gives a shit about that.


piffle. people get murdered in the US all the time, but subjecting the accused to a kangaroo court and sloppy extralegal procedures doesn't do anyone any favors unless you're just in for frontier justice. having a set of codified laws that get meted out equally -- with sanctions in place if they do not -- assures that even supercharged cases such as this one can perhaps be determined with a modicum of fairness.

chill out, just because he's being resentenced doesn't mean no one cares for the dead or the widowed.
posted by jessamyn at 11:30 AM on December 18, 2001


UncleFes, the whole point is whether or not he did kill that cop, given that (among other things) a known professional assassin later confessed to the crime Mumia supposedly committed. Whether the confession would hold up in court, we don't know, because the hitman's testimony was barred from court because someone missed a filing deadline.
posted by blissbat at 11:34 AM on December 18, 2001


just because he's being resentenced doesn't mean no one cares for the dead or the widowed.

But they just don't enter into the discussion. I guess that's what burns me. Abu-Jamal, for all the talk of racism and various other courtroom shenanigans, my take on the evidence says he pretty much did it, him and his brother. OK, maybe his trial was flawed; maybe his brother was the triggerman; maybe maybe maybe...

But Faulkner is still just as dead. No hope for reprieve, no Amnesty writeup, just dead. Permanently. His voice has been silenced forever. No trial, no judge, no jury. Just a beatdown and a bullet.

I think that should be a factor.
posted by UncleFes at 11:39 AM on December 18, 2001


If all you know of the case is from the pro-Mumia "A Case for Reasonable Doubt" documentary, then you may want to try a little balance by examining the documentation gathered by the people who run DanielFaulkner.com -- Faulkner being the Philadelphia police officer that Abu-Jamal is still duly convicted of murdering. I heartily recommend the section entitled "Myths about Mumia" which cuts through a lot of the media hype that's been slung around for the last two decades.

And if you have the time and a serious desire to cultivate an independent point of view regarding the fairness of the trial in which Abu-Jamal was convicted, you can read the trial and appeals transcripts in their (public) entirety.

Or at the very least, that the crime he was convicted of doesn't warrant the death penalty.

No such -- the killing of an officer of the law while on duty is automatically a death penalty case in just about every state in which the death penalty is in effect -- it certainly is/was the law in Pennsylvania when Daniel Faulkner was murdered.
posted by Dreama at 11:39 AM on December 18, 2001


Hey dogmatic: Hello there? I just explained that I thought a new trial was warranted, which would mean I didn't think "justice" was served here. Justice means more than guilt or innocence, y'know? Or are you too dogmatic about that? Ends up a new trial wasn't ordered here anyway, just a sentencing. I don't support the death penalty, by the way, but am in support of the laws being carried out, in a just and impartial manner.
posted by raysmj at 11:41 AM on December 18, 2001


OK, maybe his trial was flawed; maybe his brother was the triggerman; maybe maybe maybe...

Uncle Fes, not saying that alleged perps should be turned into celebs, but most of the Bill of Rights is dedicated to the rights of the accused. Not in word in there about the victims, although justice carried out in a fair and impartial manner will presumably best serve them, as well as the whole of society. "Maybe, maybe, maybe" does not cut it.
posted by raysmj at 11:53 AM on December 18, 2001


I know quite a bit about the case, and it's clear that at the LEAST, Mumia's trial was a railroad. At worst, he was framed. The most damning piece of evidence was that Mumia's gun was a 35 mm and the bullet that killed Faulkner was NOT a 35 mm bullet.
posted by djacobs at 12:09 PM on December 18, 2001


His voice has been silenced forever.

How melodramatic.

Unfortunately, there is a body, and a grieving family in every murder case, Fes. Doesn't mean we should ignore the right to a fair trial. You may think he's guilty, but that doesn't matter at all. He very well might be, but he still has the right to a fair trial.
posted by Doug at 12:17 PM on December 18, 2001


Of course, no one gives a shit about that.

You know better than that, UncleFes. But even people guilty of heinous crimes (which I think Mumia is) deserve a fair trial (which I don't think Mumia got).

I think that should be a factor.

I'm confused here. Are you saying that because Faulkner is dead, it doesn't matter
posted by snarkout at 12:21 PM on December 18, 2001


Crumbs, second try.

I think that should be a factor.

I'm confused here. Are you saying that because Faulkner is dead, it doesn't matter whether his killer (and I'll posit that it was Mumia) receives a fair trial and sentencing? Every criminal deserves that, whether he's John Gotti or Charles Manson or Michael Milken. That's the basis for the American system of justice, and one reason that it needs to approach impeccability is to avoid the sort of obfuscatory nonsense some people involved with the Mumia case spew out.
posted by snarkout at 12:24 PM on December 18, 2001


djacobs, I don't know where you get your information, but there's no such thing as a 35mm cartridge. If there were such a thing, the gun firing it would have to have wheels.
posted by whuppy at 12:46 PM on December 18, 2001


or a flash
posted by David Dark at 12:54 PM on December 18, 2001


Mumia: "Say cheese, Faulkner!"
posted by David Dark at 12:55 PM on December 18, 2001


Dreama, I'd love to look into it, but neither one of those links open.
posted by muckster at 12:58 PM on December 18, 2001


The gun and the bullet were both .38 caliber.

Mumia is guilty. He was convicted, he's had twenty years of appeals, and he should be dead by now. This does nothing to portend that the American legal system works, but just the opposite.
posted by David Dark at 1:15 PM on December 18, 2001


Well, shit, David Dark, then what is all the fuss about? All they needed to do was ask you!
posted by muckster at 1:24 PM on December 18, 2001


Uncle Fes, your stale sanctimony makes me gag. It is possible to grieve with the widow and support a fair trial for the accused, but that requires a more nuanced mind than you apparently possess.

David Dark, quick, call the papers. I'm sure they'd love to report that you are concinced of Mumia's guilt, and that the thousands who have been agitating for a new trial are just plain mixed up.
posted by Ty Webb at 1:32 PM on December 18, 2001


FWIW at this point, here's a summary of what Mumia claims was wrong with the trial.
posted by muckster at 1:44 PM on December 18, 2001


If anyone is responsible for turning his original trial into a three ring circus, it was Mumia. Beginning with his insistence that he represent himself to his refusing to behave in the courtroom and playing the racial card from the get go. Mumia is guilty of putting the bullet in Daniel Faulkner that ended his life. Whether he deserves to rot away in a prison sentence or get the needle is a debatable point.
posted by MAYORBOB at 2:02 PM on December 18, 2001


I too found the information gathered at Myths About Mumia to be devastating for most of the claims that Mumia supporters are always repeating.

I think the most probable truth is that Mumia is Guilty and Framed. It's quite clear he committed the murder, but the trial was fishy in some respects (not always those trumpeted by his supporters), and he ought to get a new one.

And my pet candidate for a better poster child for the campaign to end the death penalty—an already executed, provably innocent man. I know that would be logistically quite difficult to accomplish, but investigative effort in that direction would have a greater impact than all the legal brainpower being directed into exonerating the convicted-but-not-yet-executed innocent.
posted by Zurishaddai at 2:04 PM on December 18, 2001


And my pet candidate for a better poster child for the campaign to end the death penalty—an already executed, provably innocent man.

Or woman? Ethel Rosenberg's execution is starting to look iffy, now that her brother has blithely admitted perjuring himself (if I'm understanding the gist of the arguments correctly, her husband was guilty of treason, but she probably wasn't). The story was in the news a couple of weeks ago.
posted by thomas j wise at 2:20 PM on December 18, 2001


Woman? The propaganda value would be too low. Too many zealous supporters of the death penalty already feel squeamish about putting women to death.
posted by Zurishaddai at 2:55 PM on December 18, 2001


Uncle Fes, your stale sanctimony makes me gag...but that requires a more nuanced mind than you apparently possess.

Well, I'm certainly glad this thread didn't devolve into personal attack :) And I hope you had something nice for lunch, so it wasn't all unpleasurable.

Are you saying that because Faulkner is dead, it doesn't matter whether his killer (and I'll posit that it was Mumia) receives a fair trial and sentencing?


No. Everyone is guaranteed a fair trial by the Constitution (what we deserve is another story entirely, but that's for another thread); what I'm saying is that (a) the punishment should fit the crime - the death penalty is, imo, the only just penalty for murder; (b) since Faulkner is dead, there is no one to speak for him in these proceedings. Mumia is manipulating those persons who, for whatever reason, feel his is a cause worth fighting for, to the detriment of any redress that Faulkner and his family might have gained from this. Every hearing, every resentencing, every rally is an affront to the meager sense of justice that Faulkner's family might have garnered from this case. And isn't justice what the law and the Constitution are trying to gain here? to gain everywhere?

So, I suppose my questions here are more on the matter of victims rights than anything having to do with Abu-Jamal. But it does irk me when the media takes cases where the questions as not so much of guilt or innocence as they are of procedure, and ominous but ultimately unprovable charges of racism and frame-up, and spins up some gradeschool version of reasonable doubt. It is only murderers who seem to enjoy these perquisites, while the victims of their brutality - who are deserving of concern - are quietly ignored.

I apologize for my tendency to take the side of murder victims as opposed to that of killers; I realize that's not popular. If the gag reflex comes back, please try a few saltines.
posted by UncleFes at 3:01 PM on December 18, 2001


I apologize for my tendency to take the side of murder victims as opposed to that of killers

Come on, man. You make some good points but then you lose me with puerile, self-defeating stuff like this. As if the other people in this thread are 'talomg the side of killers.' In that case, the framers of the constitution are just as guilty, no?

It's precisely that phony attitude that obscures your legitimate points.
posted by cell divide at 3:08 PM on December 18, 2001


It's precisely that phony attitude that obscures your legitimate points.

Well, I'm trying not to be so overtly right lately.

Sorry about that, Ty's comment irritated me, and I've sworn off personal attack in favor of righteous indignation. Please try to overlook it.
posted by UncleFes at 3:15 PM on December 18, 2001


this is no victory for Mumia -- just a strategy to keep the lid from blowing off the whole damn thing.

Face it, if they had executed him, Philly would have burned.
posted by snakey at 3:30 PM on December 18, 2001


Uncle Fes, Faulkner has the entire governmental machinery of the State of Pennsylvania working and speaking on his behalf, not to mention an army of opportunistic "get tough on crime" politicians and pundits who have been making hay out of the case for years. I think it's safe to say that he's covered.
posted by Ty Webb at 3:50 PM on December 18, 2001


Maybe now every guilt-ridden white person can find a new pet "oppressed" person to get agitated about.
posted by jonmc at 4:08 PM on December 18, 2001


Well, shit, David Dark, then what is all the fuss about? All they needed to do was ask you!

That's right. Too bad they didn't, eh? He was convicted, which means he's been found guilty. Therefore, saying that Mumia is guilty is right, even if he's innocent. Understand now, flamer?

David Dark, quick, call the papers. I'm sure they'd love to report that you are concinced of Mumia's guilt, and that the thousands who have been agitating for a new trial are just plain mixed up.

I never said I was concinced. I'm not concinced at all. I'm not even sure how to be concinced. But Mumia is guilty. And until the case is overturned, he remains guilty.

Learn to spell, or at least use the cheat button.
posted by David Dark at 4:11 PM on December 18, 2001


Obviously with nothing more to add to the debate, David Dark takes issue with my spelling.

Sad, so sad.
posted by Ty Webb at 4:38 PM on December 18, 2001


Dreama, I'd love to look into it, but neither one of those links open.

DanielFaulkner.com and Justice4DanielFaulkner.com -- both are working just fine, try typing them in.

Faulkner has the entire governmental machinery of the State of Pennsylvania working and speaking on his behalf [...] I think it's safe to say that he's covered.

No, he doesn't have the entire governmental machinery working on his behalf, and no, he's not "covered" because Daniel Faulkner is dead.

As nice and idealised as the notion may be, the Commonwealth does not represent, work for or speak for the victim, they speak for the people at large. It is not the job of the Commonwealth to counter the character assassination that this convict has levelled at this victim, and, for the most part, it has not done so. The Commonwealth hasn't even spoken out against the claims made against it because that's against policy.

And even if the Commonwealth was working and speaking on Daniel Faulkner's behalf, it would be only through the twenty years of quietly responding to (and winning) the specious appeals and legal manipulations consistently delivered by Abu-Jamal. This has been done without any fanfare or major press coverage, and cannot really compare to Mumia being allowed to publish and retain profits from two books from death row (somehow bypassing the "convicts cannot profit from their crimes" statutes). And it certainly hasn't done much to dampen the public notice of having his cause championed by everyone from the Black Panthers to Susan Sarandon to Amnesty International.

The Beastie Boys and Rage Against the Machine have both given benefit concerts for Mumia. But there has been no popular musical act which has come forward to perform a benefit for the family of Faulkner, incapacitated by a shot to the spine then killed by a bullet shot point-blank into his face as he lay helpless on his back on the pavement.

Mumia has been the subject of countless news reports, documentaries, and attempts to convince the public that he is outright innocent, not just entitled to a new trial. While the convicted cop killer has been invited to address college commencements, Daniel Faulkner's widow (the only one who has made public attempts to present the story from anything other than the "Mumia is innocent and was framed" perspective) addresses private organisations at invitation, not fora which are likely to spread her message to nearly as broad an audience as the "Free Mumia" movement has successfully targetted.

It's ridiculous to even try to pretend that the playing field of public opinion is in any way level in this case.
posted by Dreama at 4:44 PM on December 18, 2001


Obviously with no way to refute my statement that Mumia is in fact guilty by definition, Ty Webb takes issue with the fact that I also took issue with his spelling.

Sad, so sad.
posted by David Dark at 4:53 PM on December 18, 2001


David Dark-
I'm not interested in refuting your statement re: Mumia's guilt. If you read my posts above, you'll find that I've never asserted Mumia's innocence, only that his trial was shady. Way to wack at that strawman, though. I'm impressed.
posted by Ty Webb at 5:02 PM on December 18, 2001


How can we refute your argument, man? You made "guilty" bold! Repeatedly! What mere logic can stand up to your brutal typographic force?
posted by rodii at 5:21 PM on December 18, 2001


hey everyone-please can we call a moratorium on the use of the word "strawman." You all seem like bright people, I'm sure you can come up with a synonym. Besides just because targets are obvious dosen't mean they're not legitimate.
posted by jonmc at 5:54 PM on December 18, 2001


Ty Webb-
If you had taken the time to read my posts above in the first place, we wouldn't be having this dialogue. But since you called me out by name and made a snarky comment that I should "call the papers", I responded. Now that you realize I'm right to call him guilty, you claim you're not interested. Now that's an impressive showing, my man! Next time just keep your fucking mouth shut and you won't have to pull the tuck-your-tail trick.

I never said that I know what happened on December 9. I do know that he was convicted by a jury of twelve of his peers and sentenced to die, but a team of lawyers and a hell of a PR campaign has made people such as yourself jump on a bandwagon and defend a convicted criminal without a single shred of first-hand knowledge. You're saying you don't trust the system, I'm saying I do. Go call the fucking papers.

There are those who always cry foul because whenever a minority gets arrested, it's because of a racist officer. Whenever a minority is convicted of a crime, it's a racist judge. I swear if Timothy McVeigh had been black there'd be thousands saying he was framed by the racists, and a lot of Ty Webbs would concur. I don't buy it. I say the cop who got shot was the victim, not the guy convicted of the shooting.
posted by David Dark at 5:56 PM on December 18, 2001


I don't think anyone has brought up that maybe the judge did this because he didn't want Mumia to become a martyr. Smart idea, this doesn't leave supporters going "this new piece of evidence could have saved a man's life" for every new thing that popps up.
posted by geoff. at 8:46 PM on December 18, 2001


It's so absurd, the amount of energies the "left" has put into this Free Mumia Poster campaign. If the Free-Mumia movement were that critical an issue the progressinve left would be doomed from the outset, the way some of these one tune tommy's (er, however that cliche goes) have put every one of their goddamned eggs in Mumia's basket. Guilty or not, the patent uncertainty by way of decades of story embellishment and Monday morning jurorship is enough to warrant the issue have a much smaller profile. The emabarrassment if he were "proven" guilty! But that's precisely it! The same people regardless of Mumia's retrial are going to be harping on the same canards forever.

"Free Mumia Abu-Jamal" is such a tired, trendy quip. Even as the innocent man he claims to be, he should be smart enough to see the ludicrous ranks of thousands of trustafarians who solely fawn over him and steer them into a more diverse and stable movement with the aims of his ideals remaining the same. If he's so great how could he not? The best leader is willing to sacrifice himself. That would make a man of uncertain guilt not only a smart man but a great man as well. Well. . .so to speak. Depending on his innocence of course.
posted by crasspastor at 9:30 PM on December 18, 2001


Holy no commas! Jesus that's hard to read.
posted by crasspastor at 9:32 PM on December 18, 2001


"There are those who always cry foul because whenever a minority gets arrested, it's because of a racist officer. Whenever a minority is convicted of a crime, it's a racist judge. I swear if Timothy McVeigh had been black there'd be thousands saying he was framed by the racists, and a lot of Ty Webbs would concur."

Watch it Dark, your biases are showing.
If there weren't any racists then race wouldn't be such a factor, now would it?

posted by black8 at 1:03 AM on December 19, 2001


Holy no commas! Jesus that's hard to read.

Not to mention those shotgun-wedding mixed metaphors and such... "Monday morning jurorship" I followed easily enough, but I can only guess at some of the more elliptical riffs you're playing in your prose, e.g. "trustafarians" (="trust-fund Rastafarians," I'm guessing)... :)
posted by Zurishaddai at 1:32 AM on December 19, 2001


I really don't understand how Free Mumia became such a cottage industry. Oh yeah, that's right, I forgot: People Are Stupid(tm).
posted by whuppy at 7:34 AM on December 19, 2001


David Dark-
Now you're just jerking off. Tuck my tail? You seem to be having an argument with someone else. You're doing great, though.

I'm sure there are people on this thread who are convinced of Mumia's innocence, I don't happen to be one of them, despite your continuing presumption.
posted by Ty Webb at 7:58 AM on December 19, 2001


Not that I want to join in this flame-fest, but can the free-Mumia movement at least admit that they just flat-out oppose the death penalty, and Mumia's a convenient flag to wave?

FYI, I've read the court transcripts, and I'm convinced he's guilty as sin. Add to that the ballistic and physical evidence, and everything he and the anti-death penalty folks have thrown up are smoke screens.

Are white Philly cops racists? Many were. Some still are. But it doesn't mean the evidence is bogus.
posted by darren at 8:13 AM on December 19, 2001


can the free-Mumia movement at least admit that they just flat-out oppose the death penalty, and Mumia's a convenient flag to wave?

This is true for some people, I'm sure, but it is hardly the point for most. I happen to believe he is guilty as well, and have very little sympathy for the man and his endless drum-beating, but that doesn't mitigate against the fact that his trial and prosecution were, by all appearances, farcical. That should be alarming to anyone.
posted by Skot at 8:28 AM on December 19, 2001


Ty Webb, I re-read all your posts in this thread and now realize why I was mistaken: You haven't said anything. You've only attacked other posters. My bad, I guess, for assuming that you held the opposite view of those you attack. I'm working on my ESP skills, so hopefully the next time you attack posts without stating your own position, I'll know exactly how you feel. Moving on...
posted by David Dark at 1:19 PM on December 19, 2001


That's right. Too bad they didn't, eh? He was convicted, which means he's been found guilty. Therefore, saying that Mumia is guilty is right, even if he's innocent. Understand now, flamer?

Wow, I guess this means OJ really was innocent.
posted by octavius at 1:35 PM on December 19, 2001


black8, I'd appreciate some clarification if you don't mind. How exactly do those words show a bias? Are you saying that there aren't any people who see "racism" everywhere they look? Because let me assure you that they exist. They're called chronic victims, and there are more than a few.

If there weren't any racists then race wouldn't be such a factor, now would it?

I don't know, you tell me.
posted by David Dark at 2:11 PM on December 19, 2001


You seem like an intelligent man, I'm sure you can think of a few cases where someone mysteriously wound up dead while dealing with the police.
Your words dismiss Mumia supporters as "chronic victims" and their protests as mere fiction. That race never plays a part in in the way justice is served in this country. While that's your perogative, I say there plenty of evidence to the contrary and that your words lead me to think you've got a problem with black folks.
There are plenty of people who think Timothy McVeigh is a hero. The main difference between he and Mumia was that McVeigh confessed his guilt and asked to die.
If cops are "de-policing", maybe they need to examine and understand the how and the why of how things got that way. Police power has been the traditional tool to keep "uppity niggers" in check for decades. Regularly, stories about racist cops appear in the papers and on TV.
Never mind the millions of blacks that go to work each day, pay our taxes and stay out of trouble-from a cops viewpoint we're all criminals AND that our lives aren't as worth as much as those of others.
So I say the evidence is there to support my statement, posed as a question.
Many think there was something sketchy about the trial and the past behavior of Philly cops
(take the bombing of the MOVE compound for example) leaves room for doubt in minds of some.
posted by black8 at 6:32 PM on December 19, 2001


Here's a characterization from the Washington Post, just for kicks:

U.S. District Court Judge William Yohn in Philadelphia concluded his guilt had been fairly proven.

But Yohn called for a new sentencing hearing within 180 days, saying that the jury that sentenced Abu-Jamal was not properly instructed on how to consider mitigating factors. He ruled that if there was no hearing within that time period, Abu-Jamal's death sentence would be void and he would be sentenced to life in prison.


I'm wondering what "mitigating factors" the jury ought to have considered for a main "fairly proven" to have fatally shot a wounded cop in the face?
posted by mikewas at 8:50 PM on December 19, 2001


your words lead me to think you've got a problem with black folks.

That's what I thought you might be saying. I don't want to come across that way, because it's just not true. I grew up in the mid-west, where black kids were a definite minority (the middle school I went to had two black students out of four hundred), and they had to deal with a lot of ignorant racist behavior. But not from me. They were my friends, whether they were black, white, orange, green, or purple. And I have scars from the fist fights I had with those who called my friends niggers. I know racism exists, and it ain't pretty.

But when you say that "from a cop's viewpoint we're all criminals AND our lives aren't worth as much as those of others," I know where the problem is, and it ain't the cop who's out trying to do his job. You think they're judging you on the color of your skin, but you're judging them because they carry a badge. Yes, there are racist cops, and you can find a whole truckload of evidence to support that claim. But that doesn't mean that every John Q. Law in a uniform is a racist who wakes up every morning just itching to find some black heads to crack. I think that racist cops, the bad apples of the bunch who truly hate minorities, are the exception, not the rule.

Just because racism exists in our society, it shouldn't be used as a get out of jail free card for a criminal who just happens to be black. From what I've read about Mumia, he wasn't a model citizen who went to work each day, paid his taxes, and stayed out of trouble. In fact, I think Mumia is the racist in this case. His vocal opinions weren't exactly of the "can't we all just get along" variety. Now, the how and why of what led him down that path is open to discussion, but it doesn't give him the right to kill a cop. And the evidence saying he killed a cop was good enough for twelve non-cops to convict him. I believe that all the bullshit accusations claiming racism is the only reason he's sitting in jail are just that: bullshit. I could be wrong, but that's how it appears to me.
posted by David Dark at 1:48 AM on December 20, 2001


Point taken.
I don't think every cop is a racist, just stating that there is a very real historical reason for some to think that way. That doesn't necessarily make them chronic victims. Personally, I've never had any trouble from the police.
I don't think Mumia deserves a get out jail free card nor did have the right to kill anyone, but I do think that if the appearance of some impropriety (due to racism-or some other factor) in the state's case exists, then perhaps they should give it another look.
Either way, Mumia won't be out on the streets anytime soon-if ever.
posted by black8 at 3:03 AM on December 20, 2001


Thanks for the links, David -- that was an entertaining analysis of Traffic, and, though I only skimmed it, that discussion of internalized racial oppression looks excellent.

Pretty ironic that Seattle police are employing a racist pattern of failing to discharge their duties in response to cries of racism, don't you think? Or maybe that's just fucked up.
posted by sudama at 7:41 AM on December 20, 2001


Sudama: I think David's link was illustrating how silly the whole victimology meme is.
posted by owillis at 7:51 AM on December 20, 2001


A scene where the daughter is getting f()cked by a Black male drug dealer, their sexual activity is interrupted by a drug sale he makes, after which he proceeds to inject her with drugs.

This is the real message of the movie, fear of White genetic annihilation. Drugs are just a metaphor for the real danger of Black males engaging in sexual activity with White women.


That was a flash of brilliance right there. The rest of it was pretty weak, but I'd love to see what bell hooks would do with this!
posted by sudama at 8:13 AM on December 20, 2001


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