Why Is Philly's Top Cop Turning To Mumia Supporters For Help?
(Attorney Michael Coard For Mumia)
(Update 9/19 The Philadelphia City is running this article at their website at http://www.citypaper.net/blogs/clog/2007/09/19/3754/)
The streets of Philadelphia are practically running red with blood.
This year, some 300 people have been murdered within the city and there seems to be no end in site to the bloodshed as city leaders scramble at solutions to the city’s violent crime problems.
This past week, Police Commissioner Sylvester Johnson, who is African-American, made nationwide headlines with his call for 10,000 black men to come forward and volunteer in an effort to stem the tide of violent crime in the city.
Whether this act is a sincere proposal by the embattled top cop or a publicity stunt is not for me to say.
What can be said is that some of those who Commissioner Johnson is teaming up with to organize these efforts are themselves questionable.
Radio executive, E. Steven Collins has met regularly with Commissioner Johnson regarding the organization of the effort, and it is Philadelphia attorney Michael Coard’s organization,
"Philadelphia Millions More Movement", that is offering the online registration for volunteers.
Philadelphia, the nation's sixth-largest city, has nearly 1.5 million residents, 44 percent of them black. It is a city that has seen nearly 300 homicides this year. AP news reported that more than 80 percent of the slayings involve handguns, and most involve young black males.Johnson plans to introduce the "Call to Action: 10,000 Men, It's a New Day" program on Oct. 21, three months before his planned retirement.
The potential problem that some may have with all of this, aside from the obvious racial divisiveness, is that E. Steven Collins and Michael Coard are both outspoken in their support of convicted cop-killer and cult apologist, Mumia Abu-Jamal.
When Collins was starting out in the journalism business he considered Jamal to be a "mentor" and the two shared a close relationship. One that was spelled out when Collins testified on Jamal’s behalf during the cop-killers 1995 Post Conviction Relief hearings. In fact, Jamal was dining with Collins on the night that ended with his killing of Officer Faulkner in 1981.
Collins remains a supporter of Mumia to this day.
Michael Coard, a self-described, "angry black man", has been at the forefront of the Mumia cause for a number of years.
In addition to helping to craft an amicus brief on behalf of Jamal, he has become a vocal advocate on behalf of the murderer, participating in rallies, forums, and events of all stripes. In this role he has also been predictably critical of those who do not buy into the Jamal myths.
Back in May, when counter protests initiated by citizens of Philadelphia caused the "Clef Club" to close it’s doors to a Mumia fund-raiser, in a statement of raw irony, Coard was quoted as describing the anti-Mumia activism as a "creeping fascism". Proving once again that even a law degree cannot fix stupid.
That the police Commissioner would align himself with a man who clearly has a warped sense of reality and clear cut animosity towards the victims of crime and the police is nothing less than disturbing.
With due respect to the Police Commissioner and the terribly difficult task that he has in stemming the tide of relentless violence in his city, I must contend that it is an affront to the citizens or all races that he has sworn to serve and protect for him to embrace the champions of police murder and outdated identity politics.
The people of Philadelphia deserve better and if this is the best that the city’s top cop has to offer than perhaps the city is in worse shape than was previously thought.