During the flurry of coverage of the 25th anniversary of the murder of Offcier Daniel Faulkner by Mumia Abu-Jamal, several stories hit both the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Philadelphia Daily News
. Most of the articles were fair and addressed both sides of the issue to the point that they almost seemed to lean towards Mumia’s end of the equation.
One article, quoting pro-Jamal witness William Singletary did not exactly pass the "giggle test" as my friend and author John Hayden might say.
I cannot imagine what possessed the Philadelphia Daily News to run the article about William Singletary and his claims of Jamal’s innocence.
Perhaps it was a case of comic relief. The problem is that I don’t think anyone is laughing.
Having wholly devastated the Faulkner family and having refused to admit to his obvious role in the killing of Officer Faulkner, Mumia,, via his supporters, attorney, and now an apparently clueless reporter, is still finding new ways of inflicting pain and insult.
That Daily News reporter Valerie Russ offers the factually challenged and self-pitying Singletary a forum to repeat his already discredited delusions not only adds to the quarter century of misery that the family of Daniel Faulkner has had to endure, but also undermines the credibility of the Philadelphia Daily News.
The fact that Singletary is wholly and completely out of touch with reality was made clear during the 1995 Post Conviction Relief Act Hearings.
Although Jamal’s attorney Leonard Weinglass had made much of Singletary’s story prior to the PCRA hearings, he timidly entered this caveat before his primary "exculpatory witness" was even sworn in:
"We believe his (Singletary’s) recollection today (of what happened December 9, 1981) is not entirely accurate"
The above could be considered the greatest understatement of the entire Mumia charade.
Singletary claims that the actual shooter of Jamal (who no other witnesses saw) fired two shots and than tossed the gun into Mumia’s brother’s car and ran off.
However, when police arrived just moments after the shooting they discovered two guns.
One laying next to Jamal, with all rounds fired and the service revolver of Officer Faulkner. No other gun was found at the scene.
1995 Singletary claims that Mumia, dressed in Muslim garb (again something completely false) came up to him and said "Oh my God we don’t need this".
But, in the Daily News article Jamal is quoted as saying something totally different "Hey, that's my brother's car. Where's my brother?"
Back in 1995 Singletary testified that Mumia than approached the downed Officer and asked politely:
"Is there anything I could do, anything I could do to help you?
Now, what are the odds that a former Black Panther and current adherent to the cop-hating MOVE cult would be so concerned for the well being of a downed Officer?
Again, no other witness corroborates Singletary’s fantasy of a benevolent Jamal seeking to aid Officer Faulkner.
Than according to Singletary, Officer Faulkner’s gun "discharges" and Jamal is struck.
This scenario is not only not corroborated by other witnesses but it is medically impossible.
According to the testimony of Jamal’s own medical witness, Officer Faulkner was killed "instantaneously" when he had been shot in the head. But according to Singletary not only did an already dead Officer Faulkner manage to "discharge" his weapon, but he also spoke.
According to Singletary, the dead Officer told Jamal to "get Maureen (the Officer’s wife) or get the kids, or something like that".
So, according to Singletary, a dead man is "discharging" his firearm, speaking about his wife and children (Faulkner had no children), but he also manages to toss said firearm several feet away.
The gun that "discharged" was, according to Singletary, in Faulkner’s lap pointing upward, was actually found a considerable distance away, near the street making Singletary’s story that much more unbelievable.
Again, in 1995 Singletary makes the claim that Jamal was savagely beaten to the point that Singletary claimed that police used "tremendous force" that was sufficient to "fracture his skull".
Unfortunately for Singletary, the medical evidence is not consistent with such brutality. Mumia’s 1981 doctor and witness testified that his injuries were not consistent with a "pummeling" and that Jamal had not even complained of being beaten by the police at the time.
In what is the most bizarre aspect of Singletary’s testimony is his firm conviction that there was a "helicopter" circling over the scene of the crime. Nobody but Singletary saw this mythical helicopter and the Philadelphia Police Department did not even have one at the time.
But what is perhaps most damning to Singletary’s story is that his account of what he claims to have seen in 1981 differs from what he claims he saw in 1995 and what he claims now.
According to Officer Vernon Jones who had just rushed to the murder scene, William Singletary asked the Officer "What happened?" Officer Jones told Singletary that "a policeman had been shot." When Officer Jones asked Singletary if he had seen the shooting Singletary responded with an emphatic "no".
It was clear to the Jamal’s own attorney in 1995 that there were problems with Singletary’s testimony. And it was clear to the judge who dismissed this "exculpatory" witnesses statements that the testimony was fraudulent. And it was clear in 1998 when the judges ruling was upheld that Singletary was incredible.
Why in 2006 the Daily News would devote any space to the rants of this either inveterate liar or mentally disturbed person is beyond explanation.