Note from Journalists for Mumia: Below is a new article by Journalists for Mumia co-founder Michael Schiffmann analyzing the trailer for the new documentary about the Mumia Abu-Jamal / Daniel Faulkner case, titled "The Barrel of A Gun" (watch trailer here). The film is scheduled for release in December, and all available evidence about this new film indicates that it will be extremely biased against Mumia. In this new article, Schiffmann explains why the scenario presented by prosecutor Joe McGill (both his original scenario presented at the trial and his modified version recently presented on Michael Smerconish's radio show) is ballistically impossible. To complement the text, there are several photos and diagrams of the 13th and Locust crime scene included at the bottom of this article. You can also view a pdf version of this article that includes additional graphics.Lastly, be sure and check out our recent flyer exposing the fraudulent DA scenario. View/Download the flyer here.
The Fantasies of Joe McGill
In December 2009, African American filmmaker Tigre Hill's film The Barrel of a Gun will be presented to the public, purporting to be a documentary on the December 9, 1981 killing of Police Officer Daniel Faulkner, for which the Black journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal was convicted and sentenced to death in 1982.
Significantly, the working title of that film had been 13th and Locust, referring to the intersection in Philadelphia's CenterCity where the incident took place, but that title has now been changed in a way that is by no means incidental.
The trailer of the new movie is now out, and put in a nutshell, it strongly implies that the killing of Officer Faulkner was the direct result of a long-harbored hatred of the police on Abu-Jamal's part and maybe even a planned hit engineered by Abu-Jamal and his brother Billy Cook.
Hence the new title of the film, which alludes to a quote from Mao Zedong Abu-Jamal made as the 15 year old information officer of the Philadelphia branch of the Black Panther Party (BPP) in response to the murder of BPP members Fred Hampton and Mark Clark by the Chicago police and the FBI in December 1969: "Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun."
On its myspace webpage, the movie is hailed as presenting a new and "alternative view of the crime" at 13th and Locust so many years ago. But in fact the thesis presented in the trailer -- that Abu-Jamal acted out of sheer hatred for the police and may even have set the officer up together with his brother with the deliberate design to murder him -- is neither new nor alternative.
It has already been presented by Abu-Jamal prosecutor Joseph McGill in tandem with Officer Faulkner's widow Maureen's lawyer, Michael Smerconish, in the context of the latter two's publication of the book Murdered by Mumia. A Life Sentence of Loss, Pain, and Injustice in December 2007. Days after the publication of the book, Smerconish broadcast a 35 minute interview with McGill on his radio show "The Big Talker."
Many of the factual claims jointly presented there by McGill and Smerconish are plainly false, and accordingly, their main speculations based on them are patently absurd. All the same, this "new" film now seems to be very much based on McGill's and Smerconish's core conclusions presented in that show: Abu-Jamal shot Faulkner out of pure ideological fanaticism and may have even planned to do so beforehand in conjunction with his brother Billy Cook.