The Abandonment Of Arnold Beverly
(Video of Beverly Played At Mumia Protest)
If one were to be writing about Mumia’s case back in 2001 thru 2004 you would invariably be writing about the "confession" of Arnold Beverly.
In case you don’t know, he was the man who was "found" by than Mumia attorney, Rachel Wolkenstein whom she claimed to have met back in 1989. Beverly claimed, in part, that he was a hit-man who had been hired by nefarious forces to execute Police Officer Daniel Faulkner and that Mumia was completely innocent of any wrong-doing. For a more thorough explanation of the fraud that is Arnold Beverly’s confession visit the site dedicated to Officer Daniel Faulkner.
Like so many of the previous "revelations" of the Mumia cult, the Beverly debacle imploded under the weight of it’s own un-believability and insane contradictions. Yet, despite the disintegration of this myth, there are many who still trot it out on message boards and websites as proof positive evidence of Jamal’s innocence.
But it is not just Jamal’s critics who have pointed out the absurdity of Beverly’s claims, it was also some of the most important people within the Mumia movement. Most recently, and perhaps most importantly was Jamal’s current attorney, Robert Bryan’s repudiation of Beverly back in May during the post hearing press-conference. One of the questioners asked Bryan about the confession of Beverly and he quickly responded that "Beverly was not an issue in this case, that Beverly was rejected by Mumia years ago", and most interestingly that "we don’t need to make things up".
Bryan’s comments are interesting and perhaps a little more than slightly disingenuous in light of the actual trial record and crucial role that Beverly’s confession played in Jamal’s legal and public crusade for the first few years of this century.
In June 2001, after Jamal fired Weinglass and company and hired Elliot Grossman, Marlene Kamish and J. Michael Farrell, the Beverly confession came into play. A legal brief was filed asking Federal Court Judge William Yohn to delay his decision until a request could be presented to the Pennsylvania court system to hear the testimony of Arnold Beverly.
To make a long and tedious story short, the judiciary has rejected all attempts by Jamal’s legal team to enter Beverly into the equation, but this has not stopped the movement from using the confession as a means to further dupe the public into believing that Beverly had some degree of credibility.
But it is not just Jamal’s current attorney, the courts, myself, and the "fry Mumia" crowd who have some misgivings about Beverly, so to did Leonard Weinglass, Dan Williams, two of Jamal’s former attorneys, as well as Mumia himself, at least initially.
In his pro-Jamal book, "Executing Justice", former Jamal attorney Dan Williams states emphatically that he was not going to embarrass himself by "running with such a patently outrageous story on the most visible death penalty case in the world". The esteemed head of the Jamal legal team at the time, Leonard Weinglass concurred stating that "the (Beverly) story was insane". And Williams even credited Jamal for not running with the confession.
This respect was to be short lived as Mumia sacked Williams and Weinglass and than ended up using the confession anyways with the aid of the woefully incompetent Marlene Kamish and Eliot Grossman, two attorneys who were lacking in death penalty experience and any sense of dignity.
Pro-Mumia writer Dave Lindorff, in a rare moment of great clarity summed up the absurdity of the Beverly debacle in the following analysis.
"They dredged up a whacked-out "witness," Arnold Beverly, who claimed he, and not Abu-Jamal, had shot Faulkner. Though Beverly’s story was incredible, sounded coached, though no other witnesses had seen him at the scene, and though his story conflicted with the evidence presented in court by Abu-Jamal’s own witnesses in key ways, Jamal’s then attorneys, Eliot Grossman and Marlene Kamish, ploughed ahead, sowing dissension in their wake, viciously maligning anyone in or out of the movement who questioned the strategy or their tactics, libeling Abu-Jamal’s prior attorney Leonard Weinglass (about whom they sketched wild and unfounded conspiracy theories), making factual errors in their filings, and needlessly annoying judges before whom they needed to plead his case. In the end, Abu-Jamal's defense fund dried up as key supporters like Ossie Davis and Michael Farrell backed away from this train wreck."
One would think that after the devastating critique of Jamal supporters like Dave Lindorff, a thorough judicial rebuke, and after being fired by Jamal, that Eliot would find a rock to crawl under, but that would not be the case.
In a response to my official withdrawal of support for Mumia, Eliot Grossman responded with a near hysterical batch of ad-hominem attacks and a squalid defense of his work on behalf of Jamal, that included a half-hearted defense of Arnold Beverly. This was in December of 2006 that Grossman wrote "Anyone who might be interested in our detailed analysis of the evidence corroborating the Beverly confession will find it in a number of the documents my colleagues and I filed in state and federal court when we were Mumia's attorneys and which are posted on various "Free Mumia" websites, particularly our PCRA petition, our Pennsylvania Supreme Court appeal briefs, and our motion to certify additional issues for appeal in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit."
But it is not just Eliot Grossman who lives in a state of denial concerning Arnold Beverly, Jamal supporters throughout the world still cling fastidiously to the debunked myth. When debating the case with people, invariably, without fail, somebody will bring up the fact that the "real killer confessed", at which point I concur and explain that Jamal shouted out his confession. Needless to say that this seldom goes over well.
Even the primary websites of the "free Mumia" cause still advocate the Beverly confession as more evidence of Jamal’s innocence.
From the official website of the MOVE Organization:
"In 1999, Arnold Beverly confessed to killing Officer Faulkner. This confession is validated by a lie detector test administered by eminent polygraph expert Charles Honts. Despite concrete evidence supporting this confession, the Philadelphia District Attorney has refused to investigate, and the courts have not even allowed it to be heard. The injustice continues . . ."
From the combined website of International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia and the New York Free Mumia Coalition:
"Arnold Beverly" The former mafia hit-man who confessed to killing Officer Faulkner during a mob hit. Mumia is on death row due to be framed up for the murder of Officer Faulkner."
As late as 2005, the chief "Free Mumia" organization, International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia, featured the Beverly Confession in one of their "information booklets" and a year later the Partisan Defense Committee used the confession in a fund-raising letter.
Presently, the website of the International Action Center, a long-time Organization that has done a tremendous amount of work on Jamal’s behalf has ten entries alone concerning Beverly, none of which point out that Mumia or his legal team have rejected the confession.
In 2004 the National Black Caucus of State Legislature passed a resolution that says in part that
"WHEREAS the appellate courts have also refused to consider strong evidence of Mumia Abu-Jamal's innocence, most notably a confession by Arnold Beverly to the crime..."
It is a fact that the Beverly debacle is just one more in a string of what should be embarrassing grasps at anything that might bring Jamal judicial relief. Unfortunately for Jamal’s supporters, the Beverly episode is another failure brought forth by a dying and morally adrift movement.
One other point that must be made is that while the Jamal supporters flip-flop around from one conspiracy theory to the next, is that they are so deluded as to expect people outside of their echo chamber to buy into it. If you do as I do, and point out the outrageous campaign of deceit and deliberate misinformation you are met with the most vicious kind of vitriolic. This kind of hubris on the part of Jamal's devotees is just astounding.
Almost as astounding and absurd as Beverly's "confession". Almost.