May 7, 2003
New evidence shows that cops
By Betsey Piette
The last remaining pillar of the prosecution's case used to convict Mumia Abu-Jamal in 1982 has been knocked down.
Mumia Abu-Jamal, an African American activist and award-winning journalist, was convicted of the 1981 killing of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner. Police claimed that Abu-Jamal confessed after the incident while he was hospitalized for gunshot wounds. Mumia Abu-Jamal has always maintained his innocence.
Now, new evidence reveals that cops concocted the "confession."
Attorneys for Abu-Jamal have filed a declaration in the Pennsyl vania Supreme Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third District. In the declaration, Kenneth Pate swears that his half-sister Priscilla Durham, during a telephone conversation with Pate in 1983 or 1984, admitted that she had not heard a "confession" by Abu-Jamal.
Durham, a security guard, was on duty at Jefferson Hospital on Dec. 9, 1981, when Abu-Jamal and Faulkner were brought in to the emergency room with gunshot wounds.
According to Pate, Durham told him that the only statement Abu-Jamal made at the hospital was, "Get off me, get off me--they're killing me," when police interferred with his medical treatment.
This directly contradicts Dur ham's testimony at Abu-Jamal's 1982 trial that she heard him yell out, while surrounded by police, "I shot the motherf---er and I hope he dies."
According to Pate, the police appealed to Durham to "stick with them" because as a security guard she was part of the "brotherhood" of law enforcement officers.
Abu-Jamal's jury was never allowed to hear testimony from the police officer responsible for guarding him at the hospital; the police officer had filed a written report that Abu-Jamal had made no statements.
So why is Mumia Abu-Jamal--viewed by millions around the world as a U.S.-held political prisoner--still sitting on Pennsylvania's death row?
It would be difficult for any jury today to possibly convict Abu-Jamal after hearing all the evidence that has come to light since his 1982 trial.
Abu-Jamal's attorneys have taped sworn testimony from a man named Arnold Beverly who passed a lie detector test while confessing that he killed Faulkner.
Beverly says he shot Faulkner in a "mob hit" ordered by some police and organized crime because Faulkner was an obstacle to the payoffs racket that corrupt police were running in center city Philadelphia in the 1980s.
Physical evidence, witness testimony and a polygraph examination back up Beverly's confession. Yet the courts have not even allowed Beverly to come in for a routine deposition.
Witness statements by Yvette Williams and private investigator Mike Newman prove that the prosecution's "eyewitnesses"--Cynthia White and cab driver Robert Chobert--did not even see the shooting and lied on the witness stand.
Philadelphia Common Pleas Judge Sabo's neutrality was challenged by Terri Maurer-Carter, who was working as a court stenographer in 1982 when she heard Sabo make the statement, "Yeah, and I'm going to help them fry the n----r"--referring to Mumia Abu-Jamal's case.
Yet Abu-Jamal remains in prison.
The Fraternal Order of Police, district attorney, judges, Pennsylvania governors and even the media remain hellbent on silencing the death-row prisoner known as the Voice of the Voiceless, keeping him imprisoned and even attempting to reinstate his death-penalty conviction.
As more truth comes to light, it is clear that it will take a militant grass-roots struggle to free Mumia Abu-Jamal.
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