True Sheep

Mumia Abu-Jamal is practically a folk hero to the world at large.  I remember back in the 90’s seeing all the “Free Mumia” shirts, and I admit I didn’t understand it then.  Someone I went to high school with explained it to me then by saying, “he’s a guy who was trying to help a cop, and the cop shot him, then they tried him unfairly for murdering the cop.”  Okay, I said…if that’s the case, free Mumia!

This case was one of the reasons I started over-verifying everything I heard before making a decision on what I believed about it.

The reality was that Mumia was the only cab driver parked in a garage across the street from where his brother was being pulled over.  Danny Faulkner, the police officer, was doing a routine traffic stop when the driver of the car got out and hit him.  Danny took out his nightstick and defended himself.  Mumia got out of his cab, ran across the street, and shot Danny in the back.  Danny turned and fired back, hitting Mumia.  But Mumia stood over Danny as he breathed his last and emptied his gun into the young cop’s head.  Witnesses proved what happened, as did forensic evidence, including gunpowder residue on Danny’s jacket and on the hands of both men.  Mumia’s own brother admitted what had happened.  And Mumia, coming into the hospital, screamed, spit and swore that he’d done it and he hoped the cop was dead.

Something similar happened with Tookie.  Remember him?  Stanley “Tookie” Williams was convicted of murdering four innocent people during a robbery.  He was caught on tape later making fun of the noises his victims made as they died, gasping for air and pleading for mercy.  Both of these men came back later and tried to say they didn’t do it and came up with a litany of different stories to explain the airtight evidence that proved their guilt.  Somehow, both men have been nominated for the Nobel Prize and have continued to draw thousands of followers.

Why?  Is the draw that so many feel to them somehow linked to the draw that some women feel to marry imprisoned convicts?  Is it desperation to feel wanted?  Or is it just sheer stupidity?  I’ve yet to figure it out.  I have worked in four different prisons, including a juvenile facility, and I will never understand it.  What in the world makes so many people so gullible that they’d be willing to believe anything said by a convicted murderer?

It’s scary to me sometimes not only how gullible they are, but how vehemently they defend their position once convinced.  I’ve always been of the belief that if something is proven wrong, I don’t want anything to do with it.  I’m loyal to my friends because they’ve earned my trust, not because of their skin color.  I vote conservative because those ideals usually make sense to me, but that doesn’t mean I always vote for one party or the other.  I cannot imagine what it is that makes so many people so bull-headed that they flatly refuse to see a differing point of view.  What’s more mind-boggling is that they’re usually the ones screaming for “tolerance.”

Tookie, I’m glad you’re gone.  If you really felt remorse then I’m happy.  Mumia, I hope you rot behind bars, and the kind of people I see championing your cause speaks to your character and the lack of validity to your claims.  To those of you who follow these monsters…’nuff said.

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5 thoughts on “True Sheep

  1. It’s not quite as simple as you make it sound, and many of your facts are completely wrong. Let’s look just at the ballistics evidence, and the fraudulent “hospital confession:

    The alleged “hospital confession,” where Abu-Jamal reportedly declared, “I shot the motherf***er and I hope the motherf***er dies,” was first officially reported to police over two months later, by hospital guards Priscilla Durham and James LeGrand (Feb. 9, 1982), P.O. Gary Wakshul (Feb.11), P.O. Gary Bell (Feb.25), and P.O. Thomas M. Bray (March 1). Only 2 of these five witnesses were called by the DA: Gary Bell (Faulkner’s partner and “best friend”) and Priscilla Durham.

    —Gary Bell testified that the 2 month lapse resulted from him being so upset over the death of Faulkner.

    —Priscilla Durham testified, and added for the first time, that she had reported the confession to her supervisor the next day. Neither her supervisor, nor the alleged handwritten statement were presented in court. The DA sent an officer to the hospital, returning with a suspicious typed version. Sabo accepted the paper (not signed or dated) despite both Durham’s disavowal, and the defense’s protest that authorship and authenticity were unproven.

    —Gary Wakshul was not a prosecution witness, and on the final day of testimony in 1982, Abu-Jamal’s lawyer discovered Wakshul’s statement from Dec. 9 (Abu-Jamal’s supporters cite this late discovery as one of many examples of incompetent representation–to which defense attorney Anthony Jackson testified about at the 1995 PCRA hearings). After riding with Abu-Jamal to the hospital and guarding him until his treatment, Wakshul reported: “the negro male made no comment.” When the defense immediately sought to call Wakshul as a witness, the DA reported that he was on vacation. On grounds that it was too late in the trial, Sabo denied the defense request to locate him for testimony. Subsequently, the jury never heard from Wakshul or about his written report. When an outraged Abu-Jamal protested, Sabo cruelly declared: “You and your attorney goofed.”

    —At the 1995 PCRA Hearings, Wakshul testified that both his contradictory Dec. 9 “the negro male made no comment” report and the 2 month delay were simply bad mistakes. He repeated his earlier February 11, 1982 statement given to the police IAB investigator: “I didn’t realize it had any importance until that day.”

    —Wakshul also testified to being home for his 1982 vacation—in accordance with explicit instructions to stay in town for the trial so that he could testify if called. After studying the alleged confession, Amnesty International concluded that: “The likelihood of two police officers and a security guard forgetting or neglecting to report the confession of a suspect in the killing of another police officer for more than two months strains credulity.”

    Ownership of the Murder Weapon and Matching Ballistics?

    —Police never officially performed the standard “wipe test” checking for gunshot residue on Abu-Jamal’s hands and clothing, or the “smell test” on his gun, which Amnesty International has criticized as “deeply troubling.”

    —44 or 38 Caliber? The original medical examiner’s report (never seen by the 1982 jury) stated that the deadly bullet was a .44 caliber. Abu-Jamal’s gun was a .38 caliber, Charter Arms revolver, which uses a significantly smaller bullet than a .44. Later, the official police ballistician, Anthony Paul, would conclude that the bullet was a .38. This initial contradiction is arguably suspicious, but even if the medical examiner made a legitimate mistake, the evidence presented by the DA about the alleged .38 bullet is also contradictory and inconclusive.

    —Particular rifling traits identify a particular bullet as coming from one specific gun. Official police experts have always said that the fatal bullet was too damaged to link the particular traits to Abu-Jamal’s gun.

    —General rifling traits can only link a bullet to a particular type of gun. In his report, Paul first identified the bullet’s general traits as “indeterminable.” Contradicting himself in the same report, Paul later noted a general trait: a “right-hand direction of twist.” Paul’s 1982 trial testimony then went further by identifying another general trait never mentioned in his written report “8 lands and 8 grooves.” Therefore, after deeming the general traits “indeterminable,” Paul then alleged two general traits that served to further implicate Abu-Jamal’s gun type.

    —Multiples of Millions? Even if these general traits cited by Paul did exist on the bullet, it was not a reliable link to Abu-Jamal’s gun. The defense asked Paul in 1982, “approximately, how many millions of guns have eight lands and grooves and how many would provide this bullet?” He acknowledged that it could have come from “multiples of millions,” including many millions of guns not manufactured by Charter Arms.

    —Crime scene photos discovered in 2006, by German author Michael Schiffmann, add even more evidence of police misconduct. As Abu-Jamal’s lead attorney Robert R. Bryan notes, “The newly discovered photographs reveal the fact that the police were actively manipulating evidence at the homicide scene.”

    —The Abu-Jamal-News.com website displays 4 of the photos to demonstrate these 4 points:

    —1. Mishandling the Guns – Officer James Forbes holds both Abu-Jamal’s and Faulkner’s guns in his bare hands and touches the metal parts, which suggests he perjured himself in court when he testified that he had properly preserved the guns’ ballistics evidence.

    —2. The Moving Hat – Faulkner’s hat is moved from the top of Billy Cook’s VW, and placed on the sidewalk, where it remained for the official police photo.

    —3. The Missing Taxi – Robert Chobert testified that he was parked directly behind Faulkner’s car, but the space is empty in the photo.

    —4. The Missing Divots – On the sidewalk, where Faulkner was found, there are no large bullet divots, or destroyed chunks of cement, which should be visible in the pavement if the prosecution scenario was accurate, according to which Abu-Jamal shot down at Faulkner – and allegedly missed several times – while Faulkner was on his back. Dr. Michael Schiffmann writes: “It is thus no question any more whether the scenario presented by the prosecution at Abu-Jamal’s trial is true. It is clearly not, because it is physically and ballistically impossible.” This “missing divots” observation is supported by the official police crime scene photo, which reveals no large bullet divots, or destroyed chunks of cement.

  2. Hans Bennett:

    Was any of this evidence you post presented at trail by the defense? It it was not, then why?

    In our system the D.A. alleges and the Defense has its chance to impeach such allegations. The Defense can present exculpatory evidence and the D.A. can impeach that or try.

    One of the biggest gripes I have about our criminal justice system is the lack finality to it. With the right PR and right legal team, any criminal can keep lobbing one Hail Mary legal action after another until one of them sticks to the wall if that.

    While I strongly believe every person must have a competent legal defense the first time around, once someone has had their day in court it’s time to say enough is enough. Continually playing the same action over and over is unfair to the victim (if living), the memory of the victim (if deceased) and the victim’s family.

    Mumia Abu-Jamal received his turn and much more. It’s time for finality here. Let him rot. He is where he belongs.

  3. Oh, a CHALLENGE! I love it when someone does that. It is, actually quite simple. Here’s why.

    HOSPITAL CONFESSION: Priscilla Durham actually reported the statement you listed immediately. Bell did say that he failed to report the outburst until much later. But why is the typed report so suspicious? The report was immediately brought to the court, and it verified everything that Durham had JUST SAID in testimony. There’s no way the report could have been typed up that thoroughly and produced that quiclkly. It literally appeared in the hands of the judge in the amount of time it would have taken to call the hospital, then for someone to get it and bring it to the court.

    THE FORENSIC EVIDENCE: testing was, in fact, done on the gun and Danny’s jacket. That evidence is included in court papers. Standard misinformation from the free Mumia crowd. Mumia’s hands couldn’t be tested because he struggled with officers as they tried to handcuff him. And the “sniff test?” Mumia’s own ballistics expert admitted it was a useless test. Since several eyewitnesses watched Mumia fire his gun, it would have been ridiculous to sniff the gun to see if it smelled like it had been fired.

    THE MEDICAL EXAMINER: Dr. Paul Hoyer scrawled a note on what type of gun the thought might have been used as he began his examination of the body. Dr. Hoyer has said time and again that he is not a ballistics expert, and has had no training on the subject. A single note from a man who has no training on how to determine the caliber by merely looking at the wound for the first time is a ridiculous way to say, “look! It couldn’t have been the suspect!” Dr. Hoyer said in court that his handwritten note on scrap paper was a guess. As for the bullet being too damaged to examine for matching–it was too damaged to be definitively matched, but the ballistics expert did identify a rifling of “eight lands and grooves and a right twist” and Mumia’s Charter Arms .38 was the only weapon that matched it. In addition, the bullets were +P ammo with a hollow base, rarely seen in 1981. Mumia’s weapon had five spent +P shells in it–four were Federal brand, one was Remington.

    THE PHOTOS: how do we know that Danny’s cap went from the car to the ground and not the other way around? Is the photographer here to tell us which photo was taken first? No, as a matter of fact, he’s not. It’s possible that someone saw Danny’s hat, then picked it up so it wouldn’t have to stay in the dirt. Without a witness you can’t say one way or the other. It proves nothing. The officer who has the gun in his hand is only holding it; it doesn’t prove that the officer contaminated the gun somehow by not preserving evidence. Again, you’re making an assumption based on rumor.

    The photo claiming to show no “pockmarks” on the sidewalk from shots that missed doesn’t have a high resolution; you can’t tell from that photo. That’s like taking that grainy photograph of American Airlines flight 175 from 9/11 and saying it has a “pod” on the underside; you just can’t tell.

    And Robert Chobert? Lemme tell you something…if I were that close to a shooting, as soon as I regained my wits I’d have backed my ass outta there as quickly as I could. That WOULD have happened before the police arrived. If you notice, there are no other vehicles behind that spot right behind Danny’s fender.

    What you’re doing is using a slew of misinformation, half-truths and some outright lies perpetrated by defense attorneys to try to exonerate a murderer. Tell me this: if Mumia didn’t do it, who did? His cab was parked across the street. We know he was there beforehand. His gun used ammunition that was very rare at that time, all five bullets were spent and the shells matched. He was shot by Faulkner from less than two feet away.

    If you’re going to tell me you’re quoting that ridiculous HBO special, I’m going to tell you I’ve got some beach front property right here in Arizona to sell you.

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