$31.00 donated in past month
From the Open-Publishing Calendar
From the Open-Publishing Newswire
Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: Santa Cruz Indymedia | U.S. | Government & Elections | Indymedia | Police State and Prisons | Racial Justice
Top Ten “Fry Mumia” Myths Debunked (Myth #1)
The following is the first in a series of ten articles I have written answering the top ten myths being circulated by those who advocate execution or continued prison for Mumia Abu-Jamal.
Top Ten “Fry Mumia” Myths Debunked
(Myth #1) “Five eyewitnesses saw Mumia shoot officer Faulkner.”
By Steven Argue
The following is the first in a series of ten articles I have written answering the top ten myths being circulated by those who advocate execution or continued prison for Mumia Abu-Jamal.
(Myth #1) “Five eyewitnesses saw Mumia shoot officer Faulkner.”
In the preliminary hearings, Mumia made requests for a line-up. This is not the kind of move one does if they are guilty. Part of Mumia’s reasoning was that eyewitnesses who were lying would have a harder time with their conscience if they actually saw him in the flesh.
Interestingly enough, the prosecution didn’t want a line-up and argued their point saying that none of the witnesses had actually seen Mumia shoot Faulkner. Judge Sabo denied the line-ups on these grounds. Yet two “eyewitnesses”, Cynthia White and Robert Chobert, did claim they saw Mumia shoot Faulkner, so Mumia was unfairly denied a line-up.
Supposed Witness To Mumia Shooting Faulkner Number One…
Prosecution Star Witness Cynthia White
Despite the false claims by the prosecution used to deny a line-up, Cynthia White did testify that she saw Mumia with a gun in his hand, that she saw him shoot Faulkner twice in the back, and that she saw Mumia standing over Faulkner as shots were being fired. Overwhelming physical and eyewitness evidence proves that this was perjured testimony.
The prosecution’s version of events, largely dependent on White’s testimony, claims that Mumia stood over Faulkner repeatedly shooting and missing until he hit Faulkner’s head. Yet the physical evidence says this is not true. No divots or marks were left on the sidewalk from these missed shots. Later articles will explore this and other physical evidence further.
As a prosecution witness, Cynthia White gave two extremely different versions of events at two different trials. One version was given at William Cook’s trial, and a differing version at Mumia’s trial. At Cook’s trial she said there was a passenger in Cook’s VW. At Mumia’s trial she claimed there was no passenger.
In the case of Mumia, eyewitnesses have said that the passenger in Cook’s VW was one of the actual killers. Yet Mumia was not riding in the VW and the prosecution claims that Mumia was the lone killer. So in Mumia’s trial, it was useful for the prosecution to disappear the passenger from the testimony, despite White’s other testimony that there was a passenger. These two differing versions, obviously including perjured testimony, were cynically used by prosecutors to fit differing prosecutions.
There is also physical evidence of a passenger in the VW, evidence that was illegally suppressed by the prosecution for 13 years. That evidence was an ID found on the body of Officer Faulkner. It was in the name of Arnold Howard. As a result of this evidence, Arnold Howard was arrested by the police and tested to see if he had fired a gun the night of the shooting. Arnold Howard told the police that he had loaned his ID to Kenneth Freeman. (Transcript for August 11, 1995, pp. 130-131.)
In addition, Arnold Howard testified at that post conviction hearing that Kenneth Freeman was also arrested that night, and that Howard personally witnessed a woman picking Freeman out of a line-up. Like Arnold Howard’s ID, police reports of this arrest and line-up of Kenneth Freeman have also apparently been suppressed, but in this case have never been released.
The VW driver, William Cook, also placed Kenneth Freeman as the passenger in the VW. In Cook’s signed declaration of what happened he also says Freeman was carrying a .38 that night. Cook went on to say, in that declaration, that after the shooting,
“Poppi [Kenneth Freeman] talked about a plan to kill Faulkner. He told me that he was armed on that night and participated in the shooting. He was connected and knew all kinds of people. I used to ask him about it but he talked but never said much. He wasn't a talker. I didn't see Poppi [Kenneth Freeman] for a while after that. Poppi [Kenneth Freeman] had been in Germany in the army. That night he was wearing his green army jacket.”
Eyewitness William Singletary says that a man in a green army jacket got out of the VW, shot Faulkner, and ran. Mumia Abu-Jamal was not wearing an army jacket that night and not riding in the VW. Nor did Mumia run away, he was shot and ran nowhere. The jacket Mumia was wearing is in evidence and it is a red quilted ski jacket with a couple blue stripes. Nor was William Cook, the driver of the VW, wearing a green army jacket.
The prosecution’s version of events denies anyone on the scene wearing a green army jacket. Besides Singletary and Cook, five other eyewitnesses also put a man in a green army jacket on the scene. These were stake out Officer Forbes (the putative first officer to arrive), Officer Stephen Trembetta, Robert Magiltan, Michael Scanlan, and Arnold Beverly, who has confessed to being one of two people who killed Faulkner. Beverly states in his confession that he was also wearing a green army jacket that night as well.
In addition, the prosecution’s version of events denies anyone running from the scene.
Six eyewitnesses contradict this by saying they saw men running from the scene. These would have been the real shooter or shooters. Those eyewitnesses are Dessie Hightower, William Singletary, Veronica Jones, Robert Chobert, Arnold Beverly, and William Cook.
So the prosecution’s star witness testified for the prosecution that there was a passenger at Cook’s trial, and said there was no passenger at Mumia’s trial. Eyewitness testimony and physical evidence suppressed by the prosecution shows there was a passenger wearing a green army jacket that shot Faulkner and ran. That passenger, Kenneth Freeman, murdered Officer Faulkner either by himself or with the help of Arnold Beverly. On May 14, 1985, according to the testimony of Arnold Howard, Kenneth Freeman’s naked corpse was found outside in the cold handcuffed. No investigation was carried out on Freeman’s death and the coroner reported the cause of death to be a heart attack.
So it is established, with her contradictory stories, that Cynthia White was not telling the truth. This would be bad enough. But, in fact, none of the nine eyewitnesses who testified at the trial and subsequent hearings can remember seeing Cynthia White at the immediate scene at all. None, this includes the other prosecution witnesses.
William Singletary states that he saw her earlier down the street. When he saw her she said, “Hey, how you doing? It's cold out here.” Then noticing his car she said “a brand-new Cadillac Eldorado, 1982 model, wow, that's a great car! You ain't that bad-looking either. But I don't date black guys.” To which Singletary says he responded, “And I don't date prostitutes.” Singletary says that she then walked down the street and didn’t actually see the shooting. ("Witness: Abu-Jamal didn't do it" Philadelphia Daily News Dec. 8, 2006)
In fact, Cynthia White confessed to both Pamela Jenkins and Yvette Williams that she did not see the shooting and that the police put the screws to her to lie. In addition, a mountain of testimony shows a clear pattern by the police to try to get similar perjured testimony from other people.
In a hearing after the trial Pamela Jenkins testified, “I know that Cynthia White worked as a prostitute in the Center City area, specifically at Locust and 13th Street, during 1980 and 1981, and that she was a prostitute, police informant, and turned tricks for the police officers in the district.”
If in fact Cynthia White was a police informant, and this information was withheld from the defense by the prosecution, that alone would be legal grounds for a new trial, but it gets much worse.
Jenkins testified at hearings in 1997 that Police Officer Thomas Ryan tried to make her testify that she saw Mumia shoot Officer Faulkner at the original trial, even though she was not at the scene of the shooting. Jenkins, 15 and a prostitute, was the girlfriend of Officer Ryan at that time. She also testified that she worked both as a prostitute for police and as a police informant for the corrupt Center City Police.
Jenkins also testified that Cynthia White told her in late 1981 that she was also being pressured to testify against Mumia, and that White was afraid for her life.
In a signed affidavit Jenkins states,
“Tom Ryan, Richard Ryan and other police officers pressured me and asked me if I had seen the shooting of the police officer and whether I had been in the area of the shooting that night. When I said 'no' they pressured (me) some more and asked me was I really sure that I hadn't been on the street that night and seen the shooting. It was clear to me that Tom Ryan and Richard Ryan wanted me to perjure myself and say that I had seen Jamal shoot the police officer."
Despite showing a clear intention by the police to frame Mumia, no jury has been allowed to hear Jenkins’ testimony in Mumia’s case. Not only is Pamela Jenkin's testimony essential evidence of a deliberate police conspiracy to frame Mumia by manufacturing perjured evidence, it also helps to destroy the testimony of the prosecution’s star witness, Cynthia White.
Jenkins' credibility has, however, been bolstered by the fact that she was a key witness used to unravel the massive police corruption in Center City District. Her testimony was instrumental in reversing the decisions of hundreds of cases and helped lead to the removal of the entire team of cops that led the “investigation” of Mumia’s case due to their corruption and mob connections.
Other eyewitnesses have said the same thing as Jenkins. In a signed affidavit Yvette Williams has stated,
“I was in jail with Cynthia White in December of 1981 after Police Officer Daniel Faulkner was shot and killed. Cynthia White told me the police were making her lie and say she saw Mr. Jamal shoot Officer Faulkner when she really did not see who did it.”
Later in the Affidavit Yvette Williams states,
“When Lucky [Cynthia White] told me she didn’t even see who shot Officer Faulkner, I asked her why she was “lying on that man” [Mumia Abu-Jamal]. She told me it was because for the police and vice threatened her life. Additionally, the police were giving her money for tricks. “The way she talked, we were talking “G’s” [$1,000.00]. She also said she was terrified of what the police would do to her if she didn’t say that Mumia shot Officer Faulkner. According to Lucky, the police told her they would consolidate all her cases and send her “up” (Muncy), a women’s prison, for a long time if she didn’t testify to what they told her to say. Lucky told me she had a lot of open cases and out-of-state warrants and was scared of going to Muncy. She was scared that her pimp “would get pissed off” at all the money he was losing when she was locked up, and off the street. She was afraid that when she got out he would beat her up or kill her.”
According to legal papers filed by the defense,
“in the days after the shooting, [White] was arrested at least twice for prostitution. Her picture was posted in the 6th District with instructions for arresting officers to 'Contact Homicide'. Each time police picked White up and took her statement, she revised her story [on Faulkner's shooting]. Without explanation, bench warrants against her were not prosecuted.”
Pamela Jenkins has publicly asked Cynthia White to tell the truth stating:
“We know we can bring this down to a nutshell if you just come forward. We've all lost a lot by coming forward, I've lost somebody I love dearly... Just do it this one time, one favor, that's not asking a lot. Then maybe you can clean up your past, like the rest of us are doing.”
The prosecution does seem to be afraid of Cynthia White coming forward to tell the truth, and have presented false testimony of evidence that she is dead. In a hearing in Judge Sabo’s court, a Philadelphia police detective testified that the FBI had "authenticated" that a corpse had the same fingerprints as White. Yet the fingerprints the DA withheld at that time, and later finally produced for the now cremated corpse, don’t match the fingerprints of Cynthia White.
Cynthia White’s own mother stated that the same corpse was not Cynthia White. Other eyewitnesses, that the defense attempted to have testify, testimony denied by Sabo, had seen Cynthia White alive and walking around during the time she was supposed to be dead. Yet instead of hearing defense witnesses that stated that Cynthia White was alive, the only testimony Sabo would allow was the false testimony of the Philadelphia detective claiming “authenticated” fingerprints. Sabo snapped, “As far as I’m concerned she’s dead. I’m making a ruling. We’re finished.” Evidence has never meant much in Judge Sabo’s court, if the prosecution says she’s dead, she’s dead.
So the evidence on Cynthia White shows that she could not have seen the shooting; that Mumia was wrongly denied his right to a line-up; that the police intimidated White and others to testify against Mumia; that the police who “investigated” Mumia have been kicked off the force for corruption; that Cynthia White had a motive to lie; that the police possibly withheld information that Cynthia White was a police informant; that the DA illegally withheld physical evidence for 13 years that showed that White’s testimony was perjured and that showed that Mumia did not commit the crime; that the DA knowingly used testimony from White that was perjured; and that claims of the prosecution and police were accepted without evidence or witness rebuttal in Judge Sabo’s court.
Essential Eyewitnesses Ignored By “Fry Mumia” Fanatics Number One, Pamela Jenkins
I include Pamela Jenkins in this list, not because the “fry Mumia” camp includes her among the eyewitnesses that supposedly saw Mumia kill Faulkner, but because they don’t, and why they don’t. As was shown in the section on Cynthia White, the police tried to pressure her into testifying that she saw Mumia kill Faulkner, even though Jenkins was not at the scene of the shooting, but Jenkins refused to do it. The honesty of Jenkins is the only reason why the prosecution did not use her, and this also why she is not mentioned in the “fry Mumia” literature as seeing Mumia shoot Faulkner.
Essential Eyewitnesses Ignored By “Fry Mumia” Fanatics Number Two, Veronica Jones
Veronica Jones also is not mentioned in the fry Mumia literature, but she is also a very important eyewitness. Jones, while being called by the defense in 1982, testified for the police and prosecution.
Before the trial, Veronica Jones gave a completely different version of events than was contained in an earlier police report. In her original version of events, contained in a report she gave to police, Veronica Jones said she saw two men running from the scene. Yet at the trial the two men running were missing from her testimony. This came as a complete surprise to the defense because Mumia’s supposed attorney, Anthony Jackson, did not even bother to interview witnesses before the trial. Earlier in the trial Mumia was denied his legal rights when his attempt to fire Anthony Jackson was denied by Judge Sabo.
Jones retracted her 1982 court testimony in 1996, saying that her original police report was the truth, and that she was coerced by the police into saying she didn’t see anybody running from the scene. She gave this testimony despite being forcefully reminded by Judge Sabo that her testimony could be seen as an admission of perjury and could land her seven years in prison. She was in fact arrested from the witness stand, but for a bounced check from a different state, being served with an insufficient warrant by out of state New Jersey State Troopers.
Despite the police harassment, and a review of her entire criminal history on the witness stand, including her life as a prostitute, Jones brought her children to court to learn from her mistakes. She explained that she was relieved to be setting things straight because what she did to Mumia with her false testimony had been eating her up inside over all those years.
On the stand, admitting to perjury, Jones explained that she was awaiting trial for an unrelated robbery charge in 1982 when police detectives approached her in her cell offering to give her a deal by changing her story as a witness in Mumia’s case. She had originally stated that she heard two shots, looked around the corner, and saw two men running from the scene. The two men running fit the version of William Singletary where he saw someone else shoot Mumia and run, but it didn’t fit the police/prosecution story being woven against Mumia. Mumia was unable to run because he was shot.
She explained that the deal offered by the police was that she could go to prison for five to ten years and loose custody of her two young children or she could get out of the predicament by lying for the police saying that nobody was running from the scene.
Despite the importance of the testimony of Veronica Jones in Mumia’s case, both in corroborating eyewitnesses who say the actual killer or killers ran from the scene, and as another witness testifying to a clear pattern of police intimidation to acquire falsified testimony, Sabo ruled in 1996 against her testimony being heard by a new jury trial.
Likewise, in the original trial, Sabo ruled in favor of prosecution objections when Veronica Jones was already admitting to being the target of the police in their attempts at gaining false testimony:
"I had got locked up [together with other prostitutes] I think it was in January . […] I think sometime after that incident. They were getting on me telling me I was in the area and I seen Mumia, you know, do it, intentionally. They were trying to get me to say something that the other girl [Cynthia White] said. I couldn’t do that."
As Jackson continued this questioning Veronica Jones said, “we had brought up Cynthia [White]’s name and they told us we can work the area [as prostitutes] if we tell them [what the police wanted to hear].” At this point Judge Sabo ruled in favor of prosecutor McGill’s objections and would only allow further questions of Veronica Jones on what she saw the night of the shooting. As from the beginning of the trial, ruling after ruling has declared, police misconduct is not open to scrutiny and a court of law is no place for evidence of Mumia’s innocence.
Supposed Witness To Mumia Shooting Faulkner Number Two, Michael Scanlon
The use of Michael Scanlon’s name in “fry Mumia” literature as a witness to Mumia committing the murder is nothing but the purest cynicism. Michael Scanlon did not identify Mumia as the person who shot Faulkner, and could not say that the person he saw shoot Faulkner was Mumia. At the trial, when asked by prosecutor Mcgill, “Are you able to identify anybody, either the driver, or the man who ran over and shot the police officer?” Scanlon replied, “No, sir.” (trial transcript, 6/25/82).
Michael Scanlon’s testimony actually puts further holes in the prosecution’s story by placing someone in a green army jacket in the immediate scene of the shooting around the VW. According to the prosecution only Mumia, Cook, and Faulkner were present at this location, but the evidence shows that one or two people were present wearing green army jackets who killed Faulkner before Mumia arrived. The jackets Mumia and Cook were wearing are in evidence and they do not resemble green army jackets.
Supposed Witness To Mumia Shooting Faulkner Number Three, Albert Magiltan
Like Scanlon, Magiltan is used in the “fry Mumia” literature as a witness to Mumia committing the murder, and like Scanlan, Magilton did not identify Mumia as the person who shot Faulkner. When Magiltan was asked at the trial, "you don't know who fired the shot at him, do you?" Albert Magiltan responded, "I never said I did, no." (trial transcript, 6/25/82). Magiltan didn’t even see the shooting.
Magilton did, however, report to defense investigators that he saw a person run from the parking lot wearing a green army jacket. This fits the confession of Arnold Beverly, who says he ran out from the parking lot, wearing a green army jacket, to shoot Faulkner.
Essential Eyewitness Ignored By “Fry Mumia” Fanatics Number Three, Police Officer Stephen Trombetta
Police Officer Stephen Trombetta reported that the suspect was wearing a green army jacket as opposed to Mumia’s red and blue ski jacket.
In addition, Trombetta rode with Mumia in the van to the hospital. Inspector Alfonso Giordano, the senior officer on the scene in charge of the Mumia “investigation”, reported that on that van ride Mumia had confessed to shooting Faulkner. Giordano was removed from the Philadelphia Police and prosecuted for corruption immediately after Mumia’s trial. P.O. Trembetta was with Mumia during that entire van ride and, in direct contradiction to Giordano’s claim of a confession, reported that Mumia made no comment.
Essential Eyewitness Despised By “Fry Mumia” Fanatics Number Four, William Singletary
While William Singletary did sign a statement saying that Mumia did it, he later stated that he signed that statement under the duress of police threats. Of that statement he says, “That's what they made me say, I stayed in there [in a police interrogation room] from 4:30 to 9:30 a.m. and when I left, I felt like I had been raped.”
William Singletary has since stated, "Mumia Abu-Jamal didn't shoot Daniel Faulkner. The passenger in the right-hand side of the Volkswagen got out of the car and shot him [Faulkner]. When Mumia came on the scene, we [Singletary and another man] were on the police radio trying to radio for help." ("Witness: Abu-Jamal didn't do it" Philadelphia Daily News Dec. 8, 2006)
Despite signing the statement, Singletary refused to lie for the police during the trial. Yet the “fry Mumia” camp often cite Singletary as an eyewitness against Mumia stating that his statement (that he says the police typed up and told him to sign) was so similar to those of the other “eyewitnesses” that his first signed statement had to be the truth and that what Singletary has been insisting for the past 25 years is a lie.
Singletary says that he is willing to take a lie detector test, but he is afraid of coming to Philadelphia. He says the Philadelphia police harassed his business to the point that it went under while also threatening him and warning him to get out of town. He did eventually move to North Carolina and says, “I'm not coming to Philadelphia unless y'all got Wells Fargo and Lords of London" for protection.
Supposed Witness To Mumia Shooting Faulkner Number Four, Robert Chobert
In his initial report taken by Inspector Alfonzo Giordono, five minutes after the shooting, Robert Chobert stated that the man who shot Mumia ran away. Mumia, who was shot at the scene, never did any running.
Later, Robert Chobert changed his story to that of the prosecution. The shooter no longer was running away and the jury was never allowed to hear Chobert’s original report.
Robert Chobert, a convicted arsonist who was driving on a suspended license and was on felony probation at the time of the shooting, has also recanted his testimony according to a sworn statement by Mark Newman.
At the time of Mumia’s trial, Chobert was on felony probation for the firebombing of a school. Revocation of that probation could have meant over 20 years in prison. Chobert was in fact violating that probation by unlawfully driving his taxi on a suspended license that night. Thus, Chobert would have been easily manipulated by the police and/or by the prosecution.
Under penalty of perjury, Mike Newman stated in a signed affidavit that, “Chobert told me that he did not see anyone standing over a prone Officer Faulkner, firing shots at the officer. Chobert said that what actually happened was that he was sitting in his taxi when he heard gunfire.” And that he did not actually see the shooting.
According to that signed affidavit of Mike Newman, Chobert didn't see Mumia shoot Faulkner, wasn't parked behind Faulkner as he said he was at the trial, and that Chobert gave the police that false testimony they wanted to avoid having his parole revoked.
Physical evidence, as well as eyewitness testimony, proves that Chobert's cab was not parked behind Faulkner's as Chobert claimed in court. This evidence includes 31 recently released photos taken by photojournalist Pedro Polakoff just minutes after the shooting. These photos clearly show that Chobert's cab was not parked behind Faulkner’s police car as Chobert had claimed in court.
This corroborates the testimony of Mike Newman when he states, "Chobert told me that on December 9, 1981, he had actually been parked, in his taxi, on 13th Street, north of Locust (contradicting his trial testimony that he was parked behind Officer Faulkner's police car on Locust St., east of 13th Street.)" This is also relevant to Chobert not having the vantage for seeing the shooting.
Newman’s testimony is also corroborated by Chobert’s legal troubles and a clear pattern by the police to offer similar deals to other witnesses including three eyewitnesses, Pamela Jenkins, William Singletary, and Veronica Jones, stating publicly, and Cynthia White also stating privately, that they were coerced, threatened, or otherwise offered deals by the cops to give false testimony.
In fact Robert Chobert revealed at a 1995 PCRA hearing that Prosecutor McGill, while recognizing that Chobert had been driving on a suspended license at the time of the killing, had indicated that rather than prosecuting for the violation, he had promised to "look into" how Chobert could get his license reinstated so that Chobert. This allowed Chobert to continue his job as a taxi driver and kept him out of trouble for a parole violation. On the stand Chobert admitted that he believed McGill was intending to assist him. Yet information of a deal was not only wrongfully withheld from the jury, McGill mislead the jury further by asking, "What motivation would Robert Chobert have to make up a story?" So the jury was not only never allowed to hear the original police report with the real shooter running away, they also were never allowed to hear that a deal was made with Chobert, so Prosecutor McGill felt free to lie to the jury.
The police officer who got the “identification” of Mumia from Robert Chobert was Alfonzo Giordano. In the original police report that has the shooter running from the scene, Robert Chobert is said by Giordano to say it was the guy from MOVE that did it. Giordano was removed from the force and prosecuted for corruption related to the mob, a corruption probe that turned over many other police/prosecution convictions. In addition, Giordano had been involved in political operations against Philadelphia MOVE and the Black Panther Party. As such, Giordano would have instantly recognized Mumia, a former Black Panther and an independent journalist that had exposed police wrong doing against MOVE.
In a revealing set of moves Giordano was never called as a witness at Mumia’s trial. This despite Giordano providing testimony at Mumia’s preliminary hearing of a “confession” in the van, despite his being the senior officer at the scene, despite his supposed firsthand identification of a witness, and despite his testimony of finding the “murder weapon”. During the trial Giordano was removed from active duty and assigned to a desk. The first working day after the trial was over Giordano resigned from the Philadelphia police force. In 1986 Giordano copped a plea on federal charges based on receiving tens of thousands of dollars in illegal payoffs during the 1979-80 period but didn’t spend any time in jail.
In addition to Giordono’s corruption, under racist Police Chief Frank Rizzo, Giordono was in charge of the Stake Out Unit of the Philadelphia Police that carried out repression against the Black Panther Party from 1968 –1970. Giordono also played a supervisory role in the 1977-78 police barricade and attack on the MOVE organization under Mayor Frank Rizzo. That police attack had followed earlier murders by the Philadelphia police of MOVE members and followed a long starvation blockade by the Philadelphia Police against the MOVE headquarters. In the police attack two MOVE members were shot, nine MOVE members were framed by the Philadelphia Police, MOVE children were stolen, and, as film footage shows, Delbert Africa was kicked and stomped by the police as he lay on the ground. In addition, Officer Ramp was shot and killed.
While nine MOVE members were railroaded to prison for the death of Officer Ramp, the evidence does not fit. The one bullet that killed Ramp came from behind and had a downward trajectory. Yet Ramp was facing the MOVE headquarters where MOVE members were in the basement and any bullets would have had an upward trajectory and hit him from in front.
Presiding over the kangaroo court that convicted the MOVE 9 was Judge Malmed. Shortly after the trial and conviction of the MOVE 9, Mumia, as an independent journalist, called in to a talk radio show where he asked Judge Malmed, “Who shot James Ramp?” Judge Malmed honestly answered, “I haven’t the faintest idea.”
In the attack on MOVE the police and Mayor Rizzo claimed that the first shots came from the MOVE headquarters, but the independent eyewitnesses including a number of journalists present, confirm what MOVE members and the physical evidence says, that the first shot came from across the street and not from the MOVE headquarters.
At Mayor Frank Rizzo’s victory press conference on the 1978 police attack, Frank Rizzo directly threatened Mumia Abu-Jamal when Mumia asked him a question. Mumia was present as a freelance journalist and asked the gloating Rizzo, “What about the brutality?” Instead of answering Mumia’s question Rizzo responded angrily with a threat: “They believe what you write, and what you say, and it's got to stop. And one day, and I hope it's in my career, that you're going to have to be held responsible and accountable for what you do.”
In addition to commanding this attack against MOVE, Giordono, earlier, then under Police Chief Rizzo, carried out surveillance of leftists including the Black Panther Party.
With Mumia having been a former member of the Black Panther Party and a high profile critic of police actions against MOVE, there is no question that officer Giordono would have instantly recognized Mumia at the crime scene. This would be one of the motives for Giordono to want to falsify testimony and other evidence to pin the murder on Mumia.
A number of other well-known political frame-ups have occurred in the United States. The prosecution of Mumia fits the pattern of the FBI’s COINTELPRO program against the Black Panther Party, where local law enforcement worked with the FBI in murdering some BPP leaders in cold blood, such as Fred Hampton in Chicago, and knowingly framed and prosecuted other innocent BPP members, such as Geronimo ji Jagga in LA who spent 30 years in prison before he was exonerated of the false charges against him and freed.
A possible additional motive for framing Mumia can be found in the confession of Arnold Beverly. Beverly stated, “I was hired, along with another guy, and paid to shoot and kill Faulkner. I had heard that Faulkner was a problem for the mob and corrupt policemen because he interfered with the graft and payoffs made to allow illegal activity including prostitution, gambling, drugs without prosecution in the center city area.”
Things that Beverly said are corroborated by, among other things, police corruption, three separate FBI investigations of police corruption in the Center City area at the time, evidence of fear that Faulkner was an FBI informant, evidence that Faulkner was an FBI informant, and the murder of other witnesses involved in cases against the Center City Police at that time. One of those murders was of Bertram Schlein, an eyewitness who testified against Central Division Chief John DeBenedetto. A suspect in that murder was Kenneth Schwartz, a former police officer and reported associate of Inspector Alfonzo Giordono.
A former Philadelphia Police Officer turned mob hit man, Ronald Previte, has testified as government informant on mob killings. Previte stated that during his ten years as a Philadelphia cop he “learned more about being a crook” than any other time in his life.
If the police were in fact involved in the murder of Police Officer Faulkner, this would mean that they would not be interested in finding the actual killer. They would want to pin the murder on someone else, and who better in the eyes of Giordano than his journalistic critic, Mumia Abu-Jamal.
Whatever the exact motive or motives, the mountain of police, prosecutorial, and judicial misconduct in this case proves that the criminal “justice” system both had (and has) no interest in finding the real killer or killers while at the same time desiring to execute an innocent man.
It is funny that when presented with this evidence, “fry Mumia” fanatics counter that if it was indeed a frame-up, why was it so sloppy. Why would Giordano have included that the shooter was running away in his original report? The irony is that if the frame-up wasn’t so sloppy we’d be asked why the case is so airtight. Yet I think that answers to the question of why there are so many loose ends lies in the fact that the police were accustomed to being sloppy and getting away with it. Even though the truth of the shooter running away was included in the original report, this was no problem for the police or prosecution, since the judge did not allow the original report into court anyway. All that was allowed was the lie that Chobert saw the shooting and that it was Mumia that did it.
The deeper irony is that when the “fry Mumia” fanatics admit that there are so many loose ends, they are admitting that Mumia is innocent by the essential legal standard of “guilt beyond a reasonable doubt”.
Essential Eyewitness Despised By “Fry Mumia” Fanatics Number Five, Dessie Hightower
College student Dessie Hightower saw someone running from the scene. This is what Hightower told police 80 minutes after the shooting, and Dessie Hightower has never changed his story. Hightower’s report of one or more people running is the same as eyewitnesses William Singletary, Veronica Jones, Robert Chobert, Arnold Beverly, and William Cook. This corroborates William Cook when he said, “Freeman ran from the scene after Officer Faulkner was shot”. It also corroborates William Singletary when he says, “The passenger [Freeman] in the right-hand side of the Volkswagen got out of the car and shot him [Faulkner]” and ran. Hightower also said that he saw no gun in Mumia’s hand.
Supposed Witness To Mumia Shooting Faulkner Number Five, Robert Harkins
Harkins was not seen as a credible witness by the prosecution at the trial. Harkins was never called to testify at the trial against Mumia by the prosecution. Yet in “fry Mumia” literature the name of Robert Harkins has begun to occasionally pop up as an additional supposed eyewitness to Mumia shooting Faulkner. Like other supposed eyewitnesses of the “fry Mumia” crowd that “saw Mumia shoot Faulkner”, Harkins did not identify Mumia as the shooter.
The Harkins testimony is at odds with the physical evidence and that of all of the other eyewitnesses, including prosecution witnesses. Harkins, a known child molester, could have easily been manipulated by the police and prosecution, as was done with other eyewitnesses. If so, the police and prosecution succeeded in destroying a potential defense witness, but did not produce a useful witness for their frame-up.
Essential Eyewitness Despised By “Fry Mumia” Fanatics Number Six, Terri Maurer-Carter
Terri Maurer-Carter, an official court stenographer in the courts where Mumia was framed, has come forward stating in a signed affidavit,
“Judge Sabo and another person were engaged in conversation. Judge Sabo was discussing the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. During the course of that conversation, I heard Judge Sabo say, ‘Yeah, and I'm going to help them fry the nigger.’ There were three people present when Judge Sabo made that remark, including myself.”
These words Maurer-Carter heard from Sabo sum up the blatant nature of the racist and political crime carried out by Sabo, the prosecution, and the police against Mumia Abu-Jamal.
There are a large number of other important eyewitnesses that will be looked at in future articles, but let us review a few key points of what has already been established.
“Fry Mumia” fanatics claim that Mumia shot Faulkner. Yet, not a single eyewitness saw Mumia shoot Faulkner. Cynthia White and Robert Chobert claimed they saw Mumia shoot Faulkner, but neither saw the shooting. Michael Scanlon, Robert Harkins, and Robert Magiltan, despite “fry Mumia” lies, never claimed they saw Mumia shoot Faulkner.
Four eyewitnesses say in no uncertain terms that Mumia did not shoot Faulkner. These are William Singletary, William Cook, Arnold Beverly, and Mumia Abu Jamal.
Five eyewitnesses contradict the prosecution’s version of events by saying they saw men running from the scene. These would have been the real shooters or shooter. Those eyewitnesses are Dessie Hightower, William Singletary, Veronica Jones, Robert Chobert, and William Cook. The prosecution version of events denies anyone running from the scene.
Five eyewitnesses have stated that they were threatened, coerced, or otherwise offered favors for testimony against Mumia. These are Veronica Jones, William Singletary, Pamela Jenkins, Cynthia White, and Robert Chobert.
The prosecution’s version of events denies anyone on the scene wearing a green army jacket. Yet all evidence points to one or two men on the scene wearing green army jackets shooting Faulkner. Seven eyewitnesses saw a green army jacket. Those that saw green army-jackets were William Singletary, William Cook, stake out Officer Forbes (the putative first officer to arrive), Officer Stephen Trembetta, Michael Scanlan, Robert Magiltan, and Arnold Beverly.
Kenneth Freeman, the real killer, or one of the real killers, was linked to the crime scene by physical evidence that was illegally suppressed by the prosecution for 13 years.
Not only did nobody see Mumia shoot Faulkner, the body of evidence shows overwhelming prosecutorial, police, and judicial misconduct pointing to a clear frame-up of Mumia Abu-Jamal, and backing Mumia’s claim that he is innocent.
Mumia Abu-Jamal is a political prisoner in the United States, with what could be the final decision on his legal appeals possibly coming down this summer. That decision could give Mumia his freedom, life in prison, or execution. It is time to turn up the heat against this injustice. Free Mumia Abu-Jamal!
This is the first in a series of ten articles on the top ten “fry Mumia” myths that will be published at Liberation News and Santa Cruz Indymedia.
Subscribe to Liberation News:
Copyright Liberation News, noncommercial verbatim distribution of this article in its entirety, including this notice, is allowed without special permission. Publication in any commercial form may require payment and requires special permission.