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March 6, 2014

Powerful story, but not a true one: Using a Widow's False Memory to Stir Up Hatred for Imprisoned Man and Obama Nominee

By Dave Lindorff

A false story about Mumia has been used by Sen. Toomey, with help from Sen. Casey, to derail Obama's choice of a good man to head the Justice Dept's Civil Rights Division, writes TCBH! journalist Dave Lindorff

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By Dave Lindorff

Toomey, Adegbile, Faulkner and Casey (
Toomey, Adegbile, Faulkner and Casey (
(Image by ThisCantBeHappening!))
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Maureen Faulkner, widowed as a young wife by the shooting of her husband, Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner, has spent the over 32 years since his death on a crusade, first to have the man convicted of his death, Mumia Abu-Jamal, executed, and then, since the overturning of his death sentence on Constitutional grounds, trying to ensure that he remains a pariah in prison.

She has been assisted in her quest by a labor organization and political lobby, the Fraternal Order of Police, which has helped her to widely publicize her claims, often factually challenged, that Abu-Jamal was fairly tried and found guilty of murder, and that he is, moreover, a monster deserving the worst that the US penal system can dish out.

One of the FOP's favorite claims in that campaign of vilification is a story that the widow Faulkner also tells at every opportunity, namely that during the early days of the 1982 murder trial, when the prosecutor held up the slain officer's bloody shirt to display the bullet holes in it, Abu-Jamal, seated at the defense table, turned around and "smiled at me."

It is, to be sure, a disturbing image.

It is also not possible to have occurred.

As I discovered in reviewing the trial transcripts of that day (Commonwealth of PA v. Mumia Abu Jamal, June 26, 1982), and later reported in my book on the case (Killing Time: An Investigation into the Death Penalty Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal, Common Courage Press, 2003), Abu-Jamal had been removed by Judge Albert Sabo from the courtroom at the start of the day before the presentation of evidence, and was not returned to the courtroom until well after the shirt had been displayed to the jury...

For the rest of this story by DAVE LINDORFF in ThisCantBeHappening!, the new uncompromising four-time Project Censored Award-winning online alternative newspaper, please go to: www.thiscantbehappening.net/node/2177



Submitters Bio:

Dave Lindorff is a founding member of the collectively-owned, journalist-run online newspaper www.thiscantbehappening.net. He is a columnist for Counterpunch, is author of several recent books ("This Can't Be Happening! Resisting the Disintegration of American Democracy" and "Killing Time: An Investigation into the Death Penalty Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal"). His latest book, coauthored with Barbara Olshanshky, is "The Case for Impeachment: The Legal Argument for Removing President George W. Bush from Office (St. Martin's Press, May 2006).


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