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August 5th, 2015

In An Era of Heightened Police and Prison Fundamentalism, Focus on Mumia

Chris Stevenson
 Former death row inmate and convicted cop-killer Mumia abu-Jamal is currently facing his greatest battle. You may think I’m referring to the illness he has been undergoing for months now, what I’m writing about has been a sweeping re-occurrence nationwide with law enforcement and evidently corrections; white apathy when it comes to the treatment of blacks known to have confrontations with officers of the law. On May 19 he was discharged from the hospital, no diagnoses has yet been found for his reported discolored skin and swollen limbs, nor does there seem to be any hard effort to find it.

On July 3, 1982, a Philadelphia jury after just four hours of deliberation sentenced Abu-Jamal to death row for the 12/82 murder of Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner. This past “Independence Day” marked the 33rd Anniversary of that sentence.

During times like these the MSM will use the opportunity to push as many lies and myths as they can regarding Blacks and Rioting. Generally this works out to a Lie by Omission suggesting that Whites have Never rioted.

Since the uprisings in Ferguson, Staten Island and Baltimore were sparked by Racist Police Officers it’s good to do a history of the role police have played in what Norm Stamper once called a “Wedge Institution:”

“Whites sometimes used violence to enforce informal patterns of discrimination. During one white-generated riot in 1900 in New York, a mostly Irish police force encouraged whites to attack black men, women, and children. One of the most serious riots occurred in 1917 in East St. Louis. There white workers, viewing black immigrants from the South as a job threat, violently attacked a black community. Thirty-nine black residents and nine white attackers were killed. This was followed in 1919 by a string of white riots from Chicago to Charleston.”- Joe R. Feagin.

Today whites are still rioting out of fear of increasing black populations, but it’s through the much quieter means of legislation and privatization. Abu-Jamal was hastily incarcerated during a time when the Philly DA’s office knowingly framed so many black suspects, not exposed until the ‘90’s it is commonly known as “The 39th District Corruption Scandal.” It was led by a special narcotics unit, also known as The Five Squad; at least five cops and a prostitute, Pamela Jenkins. That’s right, the same Pam that testified against Mumia, ‘ho, junkie, informant, and girlfriend to one of the principle PPD officers, Thomas Ryan. Since the story broke they now want you to adjust your thinking to accept that even though she lied about dozens of other suspects, she told the truth about him. The FBI took the bull by the horns and conducted their own investigation. As a result they found the wrongdoing expanded beyond the 39th to the Highway Patrol Unit. A number of officers were fired or prosecuted, close to 1,400 cases were put under review; by 1997, between 160 and 300 had been overturned, more than 100 convicted inmates were released. Mumia remains incarcerated in spite of Jenkins testimony that Ryan made her identify Mumia as the shooter of Officer Daniel Faulkner during a post-39th hearing.

Back then a little-known-but-ambitious Erie County, PA assistant District Attorney single-handedly accelerated the incarceration rate of an already-corrupt court system. Tom Ridge became Assistant DA in 1980 and prosecuted a record 86 cases in two years, he then ran for Congress where he served 7 terms. During his tenure as Assistant DA, he served under Ed Rendell, another anti-Mumia politico, a Jew with Russian grandparents (all 4). As Governor Ridge has signed 176 death warrants since 1995. Both these men considered themselves democrats, and both can be the starting point and inspiration to the private-prison phenomenon that threatens to send the United States on a backward spiral we may not recover from. Much of this has to do with the temptation to push what I call White Man’s Fantasy Laws, laws that lead directly to a prison for profit industry.

Decades later states now hire prison corporations to house their inmates, and these so-called corporations are getting filthy rich because they promise to provide the same care as state and federal prisons at cheaper costs. “Private prison companies view their inmates as profitable inventory. As a result, their business model is to seek more and more prisoners, and these companies spend millions fighting for ‘tough on crime’ laws that will lead to more incarcerated people. The biggest private prison company spent $17.4 million on lobbying lawmakers to criminalize more activities and increase sentencing periods,” according to a powerpoint video by   ...that a court ordered dozens of prisoners to be released as a result of a high-degree of outright corruption by Rendell and Ridge’s incarceration and death penalty-zealotry has been replaced by the presence of Lynne Abraham, considering she was the DA during the 39th District Scandal she knows about police corruption very well. How can she be so enthused about Capital Punishment when officers on her watch have a record of lies and coverup? Black Philadelphians should repay her by making sure this fake democrat doesn’t win her run for mayor this fall.

Mumia abu-Jamal-who is currently being assassinated through deliberate negligence-quoted Dubois in his book “We Want Freedom:” “There were twenty-six white riots in 1919 alone, with major ones in Chicago, Illinois; Knoxville, Tennessee; Longview, Texas; Omaha, Nebraska; Phillips County, Arkansas; and Washington, DC. Even before this bloody period, white riots against Blacks were far from rare. In 1863, the so-called Draft Riots of New York City left at least one hundred people dead (the majority of them Black). That event, sparked by Irish who opposed both the aims and the necessity of the Civil War, marked the deadliest riot in US history.”

It’s not just Mumia we should be concerned with. So-called mandatory drug sentences has been proven to be little more than white man’s fantasy rulings that have yet to slow down to any significant pace. President Obama though speaking more openly about racism nowadays, has finally put his ink pen where his mouth is and open the cell-doors to some 46 non-violent inmates. He reportedly plans to release roughly the same amount sometime later, but will he step up and release the thousands more that deserve it? Dr Boyce Watkins recently posted about this issue on his facebook page:

“I hear that President Obama is planning to commute the sentences of nonviolent drug offenders. The challenge is that the number of commutations won’t, to my knowledge, make a dent in the number of people whose sentences should be reconsidered. Releasing 80 or 90 people vs tens of thousands of applicants is, honestly, a mere symbolic gesture that won’t change things very much.

I just went to visit a man who got 15 life sentences for a first-time, nonviolent drug distribution charge back in 1988. His mother, sister and son all died while he was in prison and he has been there for 26 years. We spoke for six hours straight.

What saddened me is when I heard this kind, intelligent grandfather, who has done 26 years in prison with good behavior, tell me me that he and most of his friends have little faith that President Obama will pick up his ink pen and give them a chance to NOT have to die in prison for mistakes they made in their early twenties.

I know there are people out there who support nearly anything Barack Obama does, and are practically in love with him. But I have more sympathy for the thousands of people who will suffer if he doesn’t do the right thing. Many of those people do NOT deserve to be in prison, and it is shameful that so many of us simply do not care.”
In addition to vastly more non-violent inmate clemency, the man now known as “2nd-term Obama” needs to do what probably conservatives fear the most, release political prisoners, starting with abu-Jamal, Jamil Abdullah al-Amin, and Leonard Peltier.

Mumia’s communication with his family and attorneys have been sparse if at all. According to Suzanne Ross, for the Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Coalition keep making your calls to secretary of DOC, John Wetzel, the Secretary of DOC at  717 728 4109 and Demand that he be allowed to see his lawyers and family.  “The DOC is now admitting that it has been their restrictions, not the hospital’s, that have kept Mumia isolated, Mention that when you call. There is no question that they feel the people’s pressure. They have referred among their staff to our being at the DOC and at the Capitol in Harrisburg and that they never know where we will show up next.” You won’t be able to understand the angry white lobby-rioters today if you don’t know about the hundreds of white riots of yesteryear. For your benefit I have presented a short-list of some history, that you can also order from Amazon.

When Whites Riot: Writing Race and Violence in American and South African Culture (Paperback – December 5, 2001). by Sheila Smith McKoy-
Riot and Remembrance: The Tulsa Race War and Its Legacy (Hardcover – February 22, 2002). by James S. Hirsch-
Negrophobia: A Race Riot in Atlanta, 1906 (Paperback – June 1, 2002). by Mark Bauerlein-
American Pogrom: The East St. Louis Race Riot and Black Politics (Law Society & Politics in the Midwest) (Paperback – August 12, 2008). by Charles Lumpkins-

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