Was the Timing of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s Decision Re: Mumia Abu-Jamal Mere Coincidence?

If you think so, you need to wake up and smell the coffee. When I saw the Full page ad in the New York Times ( not long ago), financed by the forces who want to see Mumia Abu-Jamal killed, I knew then that something was amiss. After the progressive forces in support of Mumia countered with their own full-page ad in the New York Times, October 16, we all waited for the next move to be made in this never ending saga. We didn’t have to wait long.

On Friday, October 30, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court released its decision (just days before the midterm elections) to deny Mumia Abu-Jamal a new trial. The high court unanimously let stand a lower court decision, despite all of the evidence pointing to the strong possibility of his innocence, and despite unquestionable evidence of police and prosecutorial misconduct, in the 1982 conviction of Abu-Jamal for the killing of officer Daniel Faulkner.

It should be noted that the Philadelphia PD is one of a number of police departments, nationwide, under Justice Department scrutiny. It should also be noted that this same department was subject to a civil rights lawsuit filed by the U.S. Attorney General’s office in 1979, for “widespread, arbitrary, and unreasonable physical abuse” of witnesses and suspects. And further, over the last three years a significantly high number of court convictions have been overturned in the city of Philadelphia because of police misconduct!

This writer has been informed that just days before the release of the court’s ruling, on October 25, the New York Post ran a rabid editorial against Abu-Jamal, labeling him a “cop killer” who should be put to death. Governor Thomas Ridge, who happens to be up for reelection, and enjoys the support of the Fraternal Order of Police, indicated long ago that he would sign off on another death warrant (as he did in 1995, sparking demonstrations in different parts of the world) in the wake of a this type of high court ruling.

The significance of this Supreme Court decision, and the events to follow, are of no small consequence; for Mumia Abu-Jamal, an award-winning journalist, is not your typical death row inmate. Consequently, a massive international demonstration has already been decided for this Saturday, November 7, in Philadelphia, Pa. Supporters will meet at City Hall (at the corner of 15th and Market St.), and march to the State Office Campus (at Broad St and Spring Garden Ave.) for the rally at 12 noon.

Clark Kissinger, of Refuse and Resist, eloquently touched upon Mumia’s broad significance, with these words: “Mumia Abu-Jamal has come to mean something very special to a whole new generation of young activists. They are moved by his penetrating writing, they are touched deeply by his gentle manner, they are emboldened by the utter fearlessness of his dedication to the people in the very face of death. Can we be less dedicated now to saving his life?”