Mumia Abu Jamal was the president of the Black Journalists Society in Philidelphia at the time of his arrest in 1981. His articles provided a social commentry on the injustice he experienced daily toward black Americans.
Working part time as a taxi driver to supplement his income as a journalist, Mumia made a drop off in the red light district of Philidelphia that changed his life forever.
After taking his customer to his destination, Mumia was about to leave the area when gunshots were heard and Mumia saw his brother staggering on the street nearby. Mumia ran to the scene where he was shot by a uniformed policeman and collapsed, slipping in and out of consciousness. When police arrived, they found a police officer by the name of Faulkner and Mumia with gun shot wounds. Faulkner later died of his injuries. Mumia was immediately arrested and beaten before being taken to a hospital where he recovered fully from his injuries.
When Mumia went to trial, the odds were already stacked against him. Judge Sabo had sent the most defendants to Death Row to date and had subsequently earned the nickname "prosecutor in robes". Mumia's wish to self represent was denied and an unwanted attorney was appointed for him. Mumia was accused of disrupting court proceedings and therefore was disallowed from attending most of his own trial.
Valuable evidence was kept from the courtroom, ensuring that Mumia was painted every inch the villain for the jury. Mumia had a licensed 38 calibre gun but the jury were not told that the bullet that was extracted from Officer Faulkner's brain was from a 44 calibre. The jury were also kept in the dark about an official police document filled out by Officer Gary Wakshul that detailed on the night of Mumia's arrest whilst in hospital "the Negro male made no comments". Officer Wakshul later stated that Mumia had fully confessed to the shooting whilst in hospital, although this came two months after the death of Officer Faulkner and immediately after Mumia filed a complaint for police brutality. Dr. Coletta, the attending physician who did not leave Mumia throughout the duration of his night in hospital said that Mumia never spoke.
Mumia Abu Jamal was sentenced to death and has been fighting for his right for retrail for 28 years. Despite a confession for the shooting in 1999 by Arnold Beverly, Mumia still remains on Death Row.
This man should be free.