Friday, May 02, 2008

May 2, 2008

Book Asserts Black Reporter Didn’t Kill White Officer in ’81

New York Times

PHILADELPHIA — A book published on Thursday asserts that a black radio journalist convicted of murdering a white Philadelphia police officer more than 26 years ago is not guilty of the crime and that it was actually committed by another man who is now deceased.

The book, “The Framing of Mumia Abu-Jamal,” by J. Patrick O’Connor, asserts that Officer Daniel Faulkner died on Dec. 9, 1981, from shots fired by Kenneth Freeman, a business partner of the brother of the convicted man, Mr. Abu-Jamal, who has been on death row for 25 years for a crime he says he did not commit.

The book, published by Chicago Review Press, is the latest to cast doubt on the conviction, which critics have said was tainted by racism, police corruption and judicial bias, turning Mr. Abu-Jamal into a cause célèbre for death penalty opponents.

“Abu-Jamal’s trial was a monumental miscarriage of justice,” Mr. O’Connor writes, “representing an extreme case of prosecutorial abuse and judicial bias.”

The police charged Mr. Abu-Jamal with the murder, the book says, because he had antagonized them as a Black Panther and as a radio reporter.

Hugh Burns, chief of the appeals division in the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, which prosecuted the case in 1982, dismissed the new accusations, saying, “There is zero credible evidence Freeman was involved.”

Mr. Burns also rejected the book’s assertion that two key prosecution witnesses had changed their stories after inducements from prosecutors determined to prove their case.

In March, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Mr. Abu-Jamal’s conviction but said his sentence might be reviewed.

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