Racial justice activist Colin Kaepernick is calling for the release of convicted cop killer and former Black Panther Mumia Abu-Jamal — and police are pushing back.
During a Monday virtual conference with supporters fighting for Abu-Jamal’s release, the free agency NFL quarterback argued it’s time for the 64-year-old convict’s release.
"We're in the midst of a movement that says 'Black Lives Matter'," Kaepernick said in a video statement, posted by CBS News Wednesday.
"And if that's truly the case, then it means that Mumia's life and legacy must matter. And the causes that he sacrificed his life and freedom for must matter as well."
Abu-Jamal, a former radio reporter, was originally sentenced to death for the first-degree murder of Officer Daniel Faulkner on Dec. 9, 1981, but was re-sentenced to life in 2012.
"Mumia has been in prison longer than I've been alive," he said, claiming Abu-Jamal was "framed" in the killing and not given a fair trial.
Abu-Jamal was convicted of fatally shooting Faulkner after the officer stopped Abu-Jamal's brother for driving the wrong way down a city street. Prosecutors argued Abu-Jamal saw the traffic stop and shot Faulkner, who shot back.
Abu-Jamal, found wounded at the scene, said he didn’t shoot Faulkner and argued that racism by the trial judge and prosecutors led to his 1982 conviction by a mostly white jury, CBS News noted.
"Since 1981, Mumia has maintained his innocence," Kaepernick added. "His story has not changed. Mumia was shot, brutalized, arrested and chained to a hospital bed. The first police officer assigned to him wrote in a report that 'The Negro male made no comment,' as cited in Philly Mag. Yet 64 days into the investigation, another officer testified that Mumia has confessed to the killing."
John McNesby, president of the Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #5, dismissed the call.
"This is yet another Hail Mary pass by Kaepernick and Mumia supporters to free a convicted cop killer,” he told CBS News in a statement Wednesday.
"These latest comments by Kaepernick only serve to re-victimize Danny's widow Maureen and the entire Faulkner family," McNesby said.
A Facebook page dedicated to Faulkner also strongly disputed the former San Francisco quarterback's assertions and plea for Abu-Jamal's release.
"Why on earth would he deserve freedom for committing a murder?" the page wrote. "The video shows Kaepernick truly has no knowledge on the true facts and evidence of his conviction. The ignorance of Kaepernick is a disgrace."
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