News: Hip-Hop Motivator Avoids Philadelphia Death Penalty, Granted Life Sentence

Wednesday, Dec 7, 2011 1:05PM

Written by Biz Jones

Former Black Panther activist Mumia Abu-Jamal, who has often been referred to in hip-hop songs by Nas, Jay-Z and Tupac Shakur, will reportedly avoid the death penalty for fatally shooting a white police in the 1980's.

According to reports, prosecutors came to a decision Wednesday (December 7) to end their pursuit of a death penalty.

Flanked by the police Officer Daniel Faulkner's widow, Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams announced his decision Wednesday. "There's never been any doubt in my mind that Mumia Abu-Jamal shot and killed Officer Faulkner. I believe that the appropriate sentence was handed down by a jury of his peers in 1982," said Williams, who is black. "While Abu-Jamal will no longer be facing the death penalty, he will remain behind bars for the rest of his life, and that is where he belongs." (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

The convicted felon has remained behind bars for nearly thirty years, but influenced an influx of supporters.

Abu-Jamal was convicted of fatally shooting Philadelphia police Officer Daniel Faulkner on Dec. 9, 1981. He was sentenced to death after his trial the following year. Abu-Jamal, who has been incarcerated in a Pennsylvania prison, has garnered worldwide support from those who believe he was the victim of a biased justice system. Abu-Jamal, a one-time journalist, garnered worldwide support from the "Free Mumia" movement. Hundreds of vocal supporters and death-penalty opponents regularly turn out for court hearings in his case, even though Abu-Jamal is rarely entitled to attend. (National Public Radio)

Abu-Jamal has since contributed to society from prison via his published works.

His writings and radio broadcasts from death row made him a cause celebre and the subject of numerous books and movies. His own 1995 book, "Live From Death Row," describes prison life and calls the justice system racist and ruled by political expediency. Over the years, Abu-Jamal has challenged the predominantly white makeup of the jury, instructions given to jurors and the statements of eyewitnesses. He has also alleged ineffective counsel, racism by the trial judge and that another man confessed to the crime. (Associated Press)

In addition to being referenced on 2Pac's "White Man'z World," Talib Kweli's "Over the Counter," Nas' "Take It In Blood" and Jay-Z's "Dope Man," the ex-Black Panther is was paid homage to in KRS-One's "Free Mumia".

"Never in your life should you disrespect an artist/Instead, focus your attention on astronomy/And the up and coming, shift in the economy/If you can't do that, then heed the final call/To free Mumia, Abu-Jamal." ("Free Mumia")

Check out "Free Mumia" below:

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