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Stunning new developments in the case of death row prisoner, Mumia Abu-Jamal, were released to the media May 4th at a press conference in Philadelphia. For the first time, Mumia has released an affidavit describing in detail, in his own words, what happened to him on the night of December 9, 1981, when Police Officer Daniel Faulkner was killed and Mumia was arrested and accused of the crime.
Mumia has been on death row for 19 years in Pennsylvania. Hundreds of thousands of people from countries around the world know about his case and speak out for his freedom because they are convinced of his innocence. Mumia has been speaking out from his prison cell against the prison-industrial complex of the United States, which now holds two million prisoners. He is respected worldwide as a passionate and eloquent spokesman for social justice.
The new affidavits present testimony of Mumia himself, his brother, William Cook who was at the scene on the night Faulkner was killed, and Arnold Beverly, the man who claims to have, with an accomplice, killed Officer Faulkner on a contract with mobsters working to protect their illegal activities in conjunction with corrupt policemen.
With these affidavits, Mumias new legal representatives are, for the first time in the case, offering their own account of the crime Mumia was convicted of committing. Mumias past legal representatives had based their appeals of Mumias conviction on the gross miscarriage of justice in the original trial in Philadelphia. Presiding at that trial was Judge Albert Sabo, known as a hanging judge for the tremendous number of death sentences handed down in his courtroom. During the original trial qualified Blacks were excluded from the jury as a regular policy of the Philadelphia District Attorneys office. Bogus testimony was entered into the record from seriously compromised witnesses working with the police to reduce their own sentences, some of whom have already recanted. A phony confession was cooked-up by police two months after the arrest of Mumia. Evidence was lost and mishandled. Every aspect was a violation of the right to a fair trial. Moreover, Mumia was denied the right to represent himself and to have counsel of his own choosingin itself a violation of a fundamental constitutional right.
We reprint three of the new affidavits as a service for Socialist Viewpoint readers.
DECLARATION OF MUMIA ABU-JAMAL
I, MUMIA ABU-JAMAL, declare:
1. I am the Petitioner in this action. If called as a witness I could and would testify to the following from my own personal knowledge:
2. I did not shoot Police Officer Daniel Faulkner. I had nothing to do with the killing of Officer Faulkner. I am innocent.
3. At my trial I was denied the right to defend myself; I had no confidence in my court-appointed attorney, who never even asked me what happened the night I was shot and the police officer was killed; and I was excluded from at least half the trial.
4. Since I was denied all my rights at my trial I did not testify. I would not be used to make it look like I had a fair trial.
5. I did not testify in the post-conviction proceedings in 1995 on the advice of my attorney, Leonard Weinglass, who specifically told me not to testify.
6. Now for the first time I have been given an opportunity to tell what happened to me in the early morning hours of December 9, 1981. This is what happened:
7. As a cabbie I often chose 13th and Locust Street because it was a popular club area with a lot of foot traffic.
8. I worked out of United Cab on the night of 12/9/81.
9. I believe I had recently returned from dropping off a fare in West Philly.
10. I was filling out my log when I heard some shouting.
11. I glanced in my rear view mirror and saw a flashing dome light of a police cruiser. This wasnt unusual.
12. I continued to fill out my log/trip sheet when I heard what sounded like gun shots.
13. I looked again into my rear view mirror and saw people running up and down Locust.
14. As I scanned I recognized my brother standing in the street staggering and dizzy.
15. I immediately exited the cab and ran to his scream.
16. As I came across the street I saw a uniformed cop turn toward me gun in hand, saw a flash and went down to my knees.
17. I closed my eyes and sat still trying to breathe.
18. The next thing that I remember I felt myself being kicked, hit and being brought out of a stupor.
19. When I opened my eyes, I saw cops all around me.
20. They were hollering and cursing, grabbing and pulling on me. I felt faint finding it hard to talk.
21. As I looked through this cop crowd all around me, I saw my brother, blood running down his neck and a cop lying on his back on the pavement.
22. I was pulled to my feet and then rammed into a telephone pole, beaten where I fell and thrown into a paddy wagon.
23. I think I slept until I heard the door open and a white cop in a white shirt came in cursing and hit me in the forehead.
24. I dont remember what he said much except a lot of niggers, black mother-fuckers and what not.
24. I believe he left and I slept. I dont remember the wagon moving for a while and when it did for some time.
25. I awoke to hear the driver speaking over the radio about his prisoner.
26. I was informed by the anonymous crackle on the radio that I was en route to the police administration building a few blocks away.
27. Then, it sounded like I.D.d as M-l came on the radio band telling the driver to go to Jefferson Hospital.
28. Upon arrival I was thrown from the wagon to the ground and beaten.
29. I was beaten again at the doors of Jefferson.
30. Because of the blood in my lungs it was difficult to speak, and impossible to holler.
31. I never confessed to anything because I had nothing to confess to.
32. I never said I shot the policeman. I did not shoot the policeman.
33. 1 never said I hoped he died. I would never say something like that.
I declare under penalty of perjury under the laws of the United States that the above is true and correct and was executed by me on 3 May, 2001, at Waynesburg, Pennsylvania.
DECLARATION OF WILLIAM COOK
I, William Cook, declare;
1. If called to testify as a witness in this matter I would competently testify to the following from my own personal knowledge:
2. On the night of December 9, 1981 I was with my partner Kenneth Freeman, my friend from childhood.
3. Mumia had stopped by at my stand that night. He would do that periodically. Mumia had been robbed about a week before.
4. I left my gun locked up at my stand that night, but Poppi always carried his gun. It was a 38.
5. I probably was wearing a black knit cap, I had dreds and always tucked them in.
6. We had closed up late at night.
7. Kenny (Poppi) and I had hit a few bars. We were just unwinding. We used to do that all the time after we closed up the vending stand for the night.
8. We were headed along Locust.
9. Poppi had got some beer and gotten back in the car,
10. At Locust at about Juniper I saw flashing lights of a police car. He followed me for about a half a block and I pulled over behind another car in the first empty spot on the south side of Locust.
11. I had wooden bumpers on my car and they were supposed to be metal. I had been stopped for that but he never said anything about that or gave any reason to have stopped me. I never hit him.
12, I had never seen him before. I knew the cops that worked in the district where my stand is. Locust and 13th is an adjacent district but I didnt ever see him before.
13. I got out my car. Poppi stayed in the car in the passenger seat. I let him (the cop) know I was not happy.
14. After that we went back and forth in a verbal confrontation. He pulls out a stick or some kind of object and slaps me in the head three times. By that time he had me on the side of the car, I started bleeding profusely. So I go back to my car to get my paperwork.
15. I never raised my hand to the policeman. I may have gone to block him when he was hitting me. Thats all. I am not that stupid. I never hit a cop. He hit me with a flashlight and I was bleeding but then he let me go back in my car.
16. After that I got in the car. I was in the front seat looking in the back seat.
17. There were people on the street. There always were in that area. The bars were supposed to close by two oclock but the clubs stayed open later, some until 5 oclock. They served drinks anyway.
18. I cant say I recall where other people were and I cant describe where anyone was, but there were people milling about. I never saw a taxi that they later claimed was there. I dont really know how many people were on the street. But there were always people out there, it didnt matter what time. It could be five in the morning and there would be people.
19. When I heard the first shot I was in the drivers seat facing toward the back of the car looking for something in the back seat to give to the cop like an owners card. I am not the organized type and I didnt keep papers in the glove compartment. The back seat had a lot papers and things from the stand, teddy bears, stuffed animals. We sold all that kind of stuff. Like special stuff for the holidays like on Valentines day wed have Valentines and we sold novelty items and artificial flowers.
20. When I had gotten in my car Faulkner was in front of the car by the hood where he had stopped me and frisked me. When I was in the car looking in the back, I heard gun shots and saw sparks but I didnt see him shot. I saw flashes of a gun out of the side of my eye. He was standing in front of the car but I didnt see him shot. I was facing the back of the car.
21. Out of my peripheral vision I knew, I could feel other people around but I cant say where they were. His car was behind mine and the policeman was standing on the street between my car and whatever car was parked in front of me.
22. When I first saw my brother, he was running. He was feet away from me. We hadnt made any plans to meet that night or anything like that and I didnt even realize that he came around that area there to pick up fares. He had nothing in his hands. I heard a shot and I saw him stumble. I didnt see who shot him. He was stumbling forward.
23. It is strange people told me later everything happened in a few seconds but I could never see it that way. It seemed like everything was happening at once, but it took a long time. I have tried over the years but I cant see it as a few seconds. It seems to me as if it was 45 seconds not three.
24. When I was looking in the back seat Poppi was still there and then I looked and Poppis door was open. He had been in the passenger seat and I dont know which way he had gone. He left the area right after this happened.
25. Later Poppi 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 wasnt a talker. I didnt see Poppi for a while after that.
26. Poppi had been in Germany in the Army. That night he was wearing his green army jacket. You know just a regulation army jacket. The jacket he always wore. He had been discharged. I dont know for what.
27. I got out. I wanted to run, maybe I could have gotten away. I even started to run. I did. But I couldnt run because of my brother. Not after I saw my brother down on the ground.
28. I spoke to him. I told him, Im here for you. I dont remember his answering, but I remember his groan.
29. I saw a gun on the street. It was in the gutter. I kicked it under my car. Before the cops came.
30. If they asked me something, I dont remember. I didnt answer them anything. I sure dont remember them reading me my rights. I knew Shoemaker. He used to stop by my stand and sit there and smoke weed. His wife used come to my stand with him.
31. I think they took me away before they took Mumia or the cop. I remember them pushing me. But I cant remember whether I was in a paddy wagon or a squad car or whether I was sitting up or not. My mind was just not to talk.
32. When they had me in the police station they threatened to kill me and throw me in the river.
33. I have been afraid for my life since that night. I have been afraid to tell anything about what happened. Wouldnt you be?
34. They took me in a room. There were two officers black and white. I was saying things to give them something to chew on.
35. I finally came to my senses. I didnt like the whole idea of making a statement. They wanted me to sign a statement but I just wouldnt do it, I told them I wanted to see my lawyer. I didnt like it. So I just wouldnt sign.
36. I think I was in jail a day or two then they let me out on bail.
37. I had been living in center city, but I couldnt stay there after it happened. I got help and moved out of my apartment in the middle of the night. And moved back in with my mother.
38. I remember Jackson coming to my house several times. My mother and sister were there. I dont remember him ever interviewing me. I just remember him trying to calm us.
39. I dont remember meeting with him anywhere else except at my mothers house. He never asked me to testify. Alva advised me not to testify. My lawyer implied to me that if I came to court I would also be charged with murder. I had to pay him $1,000.
40. Alva was Freemans lawyer too
41. If they (Jackson) had said they wanted me to testify I would have done it but they never did.
42. At PCRA, [Post Conviction Relief Act hearing] I was expecting to testify. Leonard and Rachel [Leonard Weinglass and Rachel Wolkenstein, Mumias previous attorneys] were giving me cross signals, Rachel wanted me to testify but Leonard didnt. So I didnt testify. In 1999, I was asked to testify again and I said I would.
43. I will testify now.
44. Mumia was not holding a gun. Mumia never intervened in anything between me and the cop.
45. I had nothing to do with the shooting or killing of the police officer. My brother Mumia Abu-Jamal, had nothing do with shooting or killing the policeman.
I declare under penalty of perjury, under the laws of the State of Pennsylvania and the laws of the United States of America, that the above is true and correct and was executed by me on 4-29-01 at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
AFFIDAVIT OF ARNOLD BEVERLY
I, ARNOLD R. BEVERLY, state that the following facts are true and correct: I was present when police officer Daniel Faulkner was shot and killed in the early morning hours of December 9, 1981 near the corner of Locust and 13th Streets. I have personal knowledge that Mumia Abu-Jamal did not shoot police officer Faulkner.
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.
Faulkner was shot in the back and then in the face before Jamal came on the scene. Jamal had nothing to do with the shooting.
Before the shooting, I was shown a picture of Faulkner and told that Faulkner was supposed to check something at Johnny Ds (at 13th and Locust) sometime in the early morning hours of December 9.
Two of us were hired for the shooting so that either of us could take the opportunity to make the hit, get the job done, and leave. The other guy gave me a .38 caliber policemans special and I was also carrying my own .22 caliber revolver.
I waited at the Speedline entrance at the northeast corner of Locust and 13th at the parking lot. I was wearing a green (camouflage) army jacket. The other guy waited on the south side of Locust street east of 13th Street towards Camac Street.
While I was waiting at the Speedline entrance for Faulkner to arrive at the location, I saw police officers in the area. Two undercover policemen were standing on the west side of 13th north of Locust. Also a uniformed police officer was sitting in a car in the corner of the parking lot. They were there while the shooting of Faulkner took place. I was not worried about the police being there since I believed that since I was hired by the mob to shoot and kill Faulkner, any police officers on the scene would be there to help me.
After a while I saw Faulkner get out of a small police car parked behind a VW parked on Locust Street, east of 13th St. Faulkner was alone. He got out of the police car and went up to the VW. I heard a shot ring out coming from east on Locust Street. Faulkner fell on his knee on the sidewalk next to the VW. I heard another shot and it must have grazed my left shoulder. I felt something hard on my left shoulder. I grabbed at my shoulder and got blood on my hand.
I ran across Locust Street and stood over Faulkner, who had fallen backwards on the sidewalk, I shot Faulkner in the face at close range. Jamal was shot shortly after that by a uniformed police officer who arrived on the scene.
Cop cars came from all directions. Foot patrol also arrived. I saw a white shirt getting out of a car in the middle of the 13th & Locust intersection just as I was going down to the Speedline steps.
I left the area underground through the Speedline system and by pre-arrangement met a police officer who assisted me when I exited the Speedline underground about three blocks away. A car was waiting for me and I left the center city area.
The foregoing is stated subject to the penalties of 18 Pa.C.S. Section 4904 relating to unsworn falsification to authorities.
ARNOLD R. BEVERLY 6-8-99