(BY John Hayden for antimove.blogspot.com)
There have been so many “Mumia’s Innocent!” and “Mumia Was Framed!” scenarios since the gun owning journalist’s 1982 murder conviction, it’s a Sisyphean task to keep track of all of them.
The ones with legal implications are the three that have been made under oath either in or out of court.
The most recent fantasy was published on May 1, 2008 by the editor of Crime Magazine, J. Patrick O’Connor, in his highly imaginative well written book, The Framing of Mumia Abu Jamal. It’s available for a mere $16.95 (Canada $18.95) at your local book shop, Barnes & Noble, and Borders in the section that features Grimms Fairy Tales and an biography of Pope Benedict entitled Confessions of a Life Long Atheist.
Space doesn’t permit a discussion of the delusional scenarios depicted in the pro Abu Jamal Indie movies that have played to miniscule audiences in the past decade, The Voice of the Voiceless (by Tania-Cuevas-Martinez), and Mumia The Movie (by an independent Canadian film maker).
Although differing in some respects, these cinematic masterpieces depict the murder victim as a brutal white cop beating Mumia’s brother’s head like a drum with his magnum flashlight, that Abu Jamal ran to the rescue, and that if –and only if - their hero did indeed shoot the cop, it wasn’t a 1st degree murder. The homicide was merely voluntary manslaughter, i.e., an older brother seeing a younger brother being “brutalized,” thereby provoking the gun owning ex Panther into an uncontrollable fit of homicidal passion that resulted in a 25 year old cop’s death.
Under this theory, the incarcerated radio journalist should have been released from prison many years ago.
1982 Jury Trial
No one, including the cop killer himself, his brother, William Cook, or any “Free Mumia!” volunteer from Central Casting had the cojones to give the racially mixed jury a “Mumia’s Innocent!” or a “Mumia Was Framed!” scenario at his June-July 1982 murder trial.
But 13 years later, after more than sufficient time to create a scenario that passed the giggle test, William Singletary valiantly volunteered to exculpate Abu Jamal. Singletary testified at the July-August 1995 hearing based on “newly discovered evidence of innocence.” Unfortunately the testimony and the pre-hearing statements of the local Philadelphia businessman demonstrated that he’d either suffered from an incurable mental illness precipitated by a 3:51 AM, December 9, 1981 hallucination and actually believed what he swore was true, or he was just a liar. A very bad liar “Mumia’s Innocent!” Scenario #1 By William Singletary
Singletary swore that he’d seen a male Black with dreadlocks get out of William Cook’s VW, pull a “small caliber handgun” out of his pocket, “point the gun” at Officer Danny Faulkner, and “shoot the cop in the eye.” The real cop killer then “tossed the gun on the right side of the VW,” and “he ran east on Locust.”
Abu Jamal arrived.
The gun owning cabbie-radio journalist and the Black Sunoco station manager walked over to a wounded cop laying on the ground with a bullet hole in his face. Abu Jamal, the quintessential cop-loving Good Samaritan, leaned over the shooting victim, exclaimed “Oh, my God, we don’t need this,” and spoke thusly to the alive shooting victim:
Is there anything I can do, anything I can do to help you?
Whereupon the officer replied: Get Maureen, or get the children.
The cop’s gun – which was in his lap “sort of…pointing up” like “an erection” – discharged. The bullet hit the luckless Good Samaritan in the chest.
Another egregious example of the cruel truism:
No good deed goes unpunished.
The reality-grounded hearing Judge refused to believe Singletary’s delusional yarn for several reasons.
No. 1 - A Black cop, Vernon Jones, testified (without contradiction from Singletary or Abu Jamal) that he’d met Singletary at the crime scene about “two minutes” after the murder, “asked him if he had seen the shooting,” and Abu Jamal’s exculpatory witness had replied categorically:
Singletary asked Officer Jones “what happened?” Jones told him “a policeman had been shot.” Singletary said he’d “heard some shots but I thought they were firecrackers.”
No. 2 - It would have been medically and physically impossible for the shooting victim to have spoken to Abu Jamal or to have fired his weapon. The 1981 autopsy physician, Dr.Hoyer, who’d removed the fatal bullet from the victim’s brain, and Dr. Hayes, the pathologist hired by Abu Jamal for the 1995 new trial hearing, both concluded that the shot into the cop’s brain had caused “instantaneous complete disability and death.”
Two progressive authors who believe Abu Jamal was framed have published their take on William Singletary’s scenario and his credibility – or lack thereof.
Two Left-Wing Views
Author Dave Lindorff conducted a two year “independent” investigation of the case and published an extraordinarily well written, but hopelessly fact-challenged book in 2001 entitled Killing Time-An Investigation Into The Death-Row Case of Mumia Abu Jamal.
Lindorff, unlike the editorial page boards of four liberal, pro civil rights, pro minority, anti death penalty papers (the N Y Times, the LA Times, the Washington Post, and the Philadelphia Inquirer) concluded that Abu Jamal “is almost certainly innocent.”
However, Killing Time says some things about Mr. Singletary that didn’t gain the left-wing author any friends in the “Free Mumia! Free All Political Prisoners!” crusade.
A) the book quotes with approval a statement in Executing Justice, An Inside Account of the Case of Mumia Abu Jamal, another pro Abu Jamal book written by Abu Jamal’s ex-lawyer, Daniel Williams. In 1995 the lawyer was opposed to putting Singletary on the stand because his bizarre account of the shooting was not “plausible,” it was “a mistake to commit ourselves to such a preposterous version of events,” and that “using Singletary was akin to putting up a billboard (for the prosecution) with a bull’s eye drawn on it.” (Executing Justice, p.250)
B) Killing Time describes Abu Jamal’s principal exculpatory 1995 hearing witness as giving an “incredible version of events.” (p.251)
C) Lindorff’s book informs the reader that Singletary’s scenario involved Mumia Abu Jamal speaking to a shooting victim who was dead, and the dead cop responding “get Maureen” (the victim’s widow) and saying “something about some children.” It favorably mentions that “according to a doctor’s testimony at the trial, once Faulkner was shot in the face right between the eyes, he died instantly …. Faulkner could not have been….talking.” (p.251)
D) Killing Time mentions that “the police did not own a helicopter” on the night of the murder, and thus – by implication – Singletary was not believable when he testified that a “helicopter appeared and shined a bright light down.” (p.253)
Nevertheless, for reasons that don’t appear in the book, and that make no sense whatsoever in view of A), B), C), and D), the investigative journalist’s two year investigation concludes, paradoxically:
Singletary was unquestionably a witness to the shooting. (p.250)
Author J. Patrick O’Connor’s newly published 2008 book also discusses Singletary’s whacko scenario.
The Framing of Mumia Abu Jamal mentions that several persons weren’t called by the prosecutor at the 1982 murder trial, and one of them was “William Singletary, a tow truck operator who told police within hours of the shooting that he saw someone
other than Abu Jamal shoot Faulkner.”
That language seems to accord credibility to Singletary’s fairy tale that he’d told police officers at the station that he’d seen the shooting, and that it hadn’t been done by Abu Jamal. That language implicitly rejects as incredible – or at least unworthy of comment - the 1995 new trial hearing testimony of the African American cop, Vernon Jones, who testified that he’d met Singletary shortly after the murder and Singletary had told him “no” he had not seen the shooting.
However, mirroring author Lindorff’s writing, O’Connor implicitly deems Singletary’s account to be incredible because of his 1995 testimony under cross examination that an innocent Abu Jamal leaned over the dead cop, spoke to him, and the dead man told him to “get Maureen.”
The Framing concludes – correctly – that:
Singletary’s claim that Faulkner spoke to him greatly undermined his
credibility on two counts: Faulkner died instantly from the gunshot to
his forehead, and he and his wife, Maureen, had no children.“Mumia’s Innocent Scenario!” Scenario #2 By Mumia Abu Jamal
In the summer of 1995 the 41 year old Death-Row prisoner was present in court when William (“Helicopter”) Singletary testified. He never took the witness stand to contradict his “Mumia As Good Samaritan” talking with a dead cop scenario.
But six years later the “framed” convicted cop killer published his May 3, 2001 sworn Declaration which materially contradicted Singletary’s exculpatory account, and replaced it with an entirely different description of the shooting.
The gun owning ex Panther claimed that he’d heard shots, got out of his parked cab, saw
his brother staggering in the street, ran to help him, saw a cop aim a handgun at him, got shot in the chest, temporarily passed out, and woke up to a rather severe beating by racist policemen.
The gun owner’s account never mentioned his five shot 38 or the incontestable fact that it was seized near his feet with five spent cartridges in its revolving cylinder.
In Scenario #2 the gun owning ex Panther didn’t mention the presence of his 1995 exculpatory eyewitness, William Singletary. He didn’t claim to have been a Good Samaritan. He didn’t claim to have spoken to the cop, and the latter didn’t tell him to “get Maureen” or get the children.
Obviously, at 3:51AM on December 9, 1981 Singletary must have seen a different cop killing in another part of town - or perhaps somewhere in a parallel universe.
Because the 1995 hearing Judge (and all subsequent state and federal appeals courts) didn’t believe Singletary’s bizarre hallucinatory description of Abu Jamal’s innocent presence at the crime scene, no refutation of it is necessary.
However, Abu Jamal’s sworn 2001 account obviously completely contradicts Singletary’s sworn 1995 account.
Thus, historically, the remorseless cop killer has been placed in a rather uncomfortable position. He’s a rebuttal witness to a “Mumia’s Innocent! Mumia Was Framed!” witness whose account is gospel truth according to “mumia.org,” “freemumia.com,” other pro cop killer Websites, and which, despite language in Lindorff’s book about Singletary’s lack of credibility that logically should have compelled a different conclusion, the author maintains that:
Singletary was unquestionably an eyewitness to the shooting.
What’s equally illogical – and perhaps even bizarre - is that progressive investigative journalist Dave Lindorff doesn’t believe Abu Jamal’s fairy tale either.
Here’s Killing Time’s take on the “I did not shoot the policeman” scenario set forth in The Political Prisoner’s May 3, 2001 Declaration:
The problem with Abu Jamal’s Declaration is that it flies in the face of much of the testimony at the trial and at the PCRA (new trial) hearing, testimony that rightly or wrongly, has already been affirmed by state and federal courts as being credible and believable. The biggest difficulty is that Abu Jamal’s affidavit, taken at face value, has him crossing the street to go to the aid of his brother after shots had already been fired.
This sequence of events conflicts with the accounts of all the major prosecution witnesses at the trial. But, more importantly….it also conflicts with the testimony of key defense witnesses. For example, it contradicts the testimony of trial defense witness Hightower, who, if he had looked around the corner (of a building) after hearing a series of shots as he testified, should, by Abu Jamal’s account, have seen him crossing the street….It conflicts with (motorist eyewitness) Scanlan, who says he heard the first shot and saw an accompanying flash of light as a man, Abu
Jamal presumably, was crossing the street. It also conflicts with the testimony
of PCRA hearing defense witness Robert Harkins (who) had a clear view of
all of 13th street, and testified (that he)… saw no one get shot in the street in
front of him.
Question: Does progressive author J. Patrick O’Connor credit Abu Jamal’s 2001
“I’m innocent” Declaration with telling the truth?
The answer – like some of the author’s writing – is ambiguous.
The Framing gives the reader a verbatim copy of Abu Jamal’s 19 years too late explanation of his “innocent” presence at the crime scene immediately after the murder when two Swat Team cops arrived less than a minute after Officer Faulkner’s 3:51:08 call for a wagon.
But this Abu Jamal admiring author – unlike author Lindorff – completely cops out on whether or not he believes Abu Jamal is telling the truth.
Indeed, the crime journalist doesn’t inform his reader whether Abu Jamal’s “I’m innocent” scenario is even plausible.
The author seems content to rip apart as perjury everything said by the state’s 1982 eyewitnesses at the 1982 trial, but refuses to say what he thinks about Abu Jamal’s account, especially the part criticized by Lindorff about the sequence of the shots.
The Framing simply prints the entire 34 paragraph Declaration and lets the reader decide if it passes the giggle test.“Mumia’s Innocent!” Scenario #3 By William Harmon
This pathetic joker testified at the same 1995 new trial hearing where Singletary was the star witness for the “framed-up and railroaded” new trial petitioner.
Harmon’s account directly contradicts William Singletary’s incredibly bizarre “Mumia As Good Samaritan” scenario. It also contradicts Abu Jamal’s 2001 fairy tale.
The well meaning career criminal, a current inmate – whoops, “resident” – of a maximum security prison, swore that Abu Jamal was innocent. But, unlike Singletary, this self styled eyewitness claimed that he’d observed not one, but two assassins.
The first male Black shot the cop in the back and fled the crime scene.
The second male Black – who must have been invisible to both Singletary and Abu Jamal– pulled up in a car, got out, screamed and yelled, stood over the wounded officer, shot him in the face, and split.
Abu Jamal was present in court when this truth-challenged lad testified, and never took the stand to contradict his two assassins scenario.
Both progressive pro Abu Jamal authors have discussed his testimony and wisely found it to be totally unworthy of belief by the courts and the public.”Mumia’s Innocent!” Scenario #4 By The Mob Hit Man
Arnold R. (“Reliable”) Beverly shared Harmon’s haute monde social status. This career criminal’s impressive resume included convictions - and long prison sentences - for robbery, grand larceny, fraud, receiving stolen property, conspiracy, weapons possession, and a few other socially frowned upon pastimes.
In an affidavit – and in a video taped “confession” - Beverly swore that at 3:51 AM on December 9, 1981 he was at the crime scene with another hired assassin. They’d both been hired by the Mafia and corrupt police brass to assassinate 25 year old Officer Danny Faulkner because he’s interfered with their lucrative graft from prostitution. Beverly’s unnamed accomplice shot the cop in the back. Then Beverly shot the cop in the face. And, oh yes, “Mumia Abu Jamal did not shoot police officer Faulkner.”
The cab driving gun owner didn’t come on the crime scene until after the last shot had been fired.
Two lawyers, Leonard Weinglass and Daniel Williams, who’d placed Singletary on the stand in 1995, and who’d obtained a state and a federal stay of execution of the jury’s 1982 death sentence, received Beverly’s Twilight Zone account in 1999 (the year after they’d lost Abu Jamal’s appeal from the 1995 hearing Judge’s dismissal of his new trial petition).
But the “2-W’s” refused to bring Beverly’s creative Mob Hit Man scenario to the attention of a state or a federal court because, according to Williams’ book, they considered his tale to be “a fraud,” an “assisted suicide,” and an “implausible fraud.”(Executing Justice-An Inside Account of the Case of Mumia Abu Jamal (2001 Edit.)
Thus, unlike Singletary and Harmon, Beverly never had the opportunity to make a fool out of himself in a court of law.
However, The Mob Hit Man’s grainy video-taped confession is still available at the People’s Video Store on 14th Street in Manhattan, and at various other progressive venues in San Francisco for only $10.00.
Or, make an offer.
Authors O’Connor and Lindorff mention this 4th scenario proclaiming Abu Jamal’s innocence.
Neither one buys it.
Author Lindorff describes Beverly as “a self-described African American mob ‘hit man’ and career criminal.” (p.250) He wrote in Killing Time that if Beverly’s description of the cop killing were “correct, why wouldn’t Abu Jamal, and his brother, who certainly would have seen the whole thing, have reported it to the police right away? Billy Cook, when police arrived, reportedly said, ‘I had nothing to do with it,’ not, ‘The guy who did it ran off into the subway entrance.’” (p.22)
Author O’Connor claims in The Framing that Beverly’s June 8, 1999 sworn confession was “bombshell exculpatory evidence.” (p. 225) But, without expressly saying so, he doesn’t believe Beverly’s Mob Hit Man scenario because it conflicts with “credible eyewitnesses Michael Mark Scanlan and Robert Harkins” who “saw no such unfolding of events.” (pp. 224-225) Scenario #5 By Crime Author J. Patrick O’Connor
26 years after Abu Jamal failed to take the stand and give 12 fact-finders the “I’m innocent!” account he published 19 years after the murder, an admirer of the cop killer in the journalism profession came forward and solved the mystery of who had really murdered Officer Faulkner at 3:51 AM, December 9, 1981.
According to The Framing of Mumia Abu Jamal published on May 1, 2008, the real killer wasn’t the dude that William Singletary saw shoot the cop “in the eye.”
It wasn’t the two assassins that William Harmon saw shoot the cop.
It wasn’t the Mob Hit Man who shot the cop in the face after his accomplice had shot him in the back.
It was – you guessed it – the passenger in William Cook’s VW, Kenneth Freeman!
O’Connor is an excellent writer and a 1st rate story teller. However, like Mumia Abu
Jamal, William Singletary, William Harmon, Arnold R. (“Reliable”) Beverly, and the
several lawyers who’ve had the distinct honor of representing the remorseless cop killer for the past 26 years, he failed to give the pubic a plausible explanation for the presence of five spent shells in Abu Jamal’s five shot 38.
The Framing simply avoids the extremely incriminating phenomenon by reciting decades old bromides calculated to instill doubt about the murder weapon and Abu Jamal’s use thereof:
the police didn’t smell the barrel of Abu Jamal’s gun – the one with five spent shells in its revolving cylinder; and the police didn’t perform any scientific tests on Abu Jamal’s hands to ascertain whether he’d fired his own handgun – the one seized at the crime scene a short distance away from a uniformed cop with a fatal bullet hole in the middle of his forehead.
Author O’Connor starts out with some anecdotal evidence from various folks in radio journalism and in the Black community who knew “peaceful” Abu Jamal and believe that he wouldn’t hurt a fly, much less shoot another human being in the back.
He emphasizes that before the 1981 murder, when he knew Abu Jamal, the radio journalist used to answer the phone:
At the video taped news conference he gave to the public on May 1, 2008 – the
publication date – author O’Connor said:
It just didn’t fit his nature to get involved in something like this. (i.e., shooting an innocent fellow human being in the back and in the face.)
This perception of the cop hating ex Panther permeates the entire book.
Indeed, The Framing is a classic example of a well meaning, utterly sincere journalist imputing his own preconceptions and prejudices onto his subject matter.
But it’s still a good read.
O’Connor cleverly blends in a little colorful history of the former Philadelphia Mayor, Frank Rizzo, who was notoriously rough, and occasionally brutal towards male Blacks.
The Framing suggests that Rizzo was somehow connected to the conspiracy to frame the local radio journalist. But it never directly links Rizzo to the frame-up. The book neglects to tell the reader that Rizzo was not the mayor of Philadelphia at the time of the murder. Thus, the ex Mayor and ex Police Commissioner had no influence over the police department that supposedly framed a “peaceful” radio journalist because of his journalistic criticism of police brutally and police corruption.
The book’s narrative cleverly blends a known corrupt police official, Inspector Alphonse Giordano, who was convicted and imprisoned for bribery, into the “frame-up” story. The Framing claims that the conspiracy started at the 3:51 AM crime scene moments after the dishonest cop arrived at 1234 Locust St. Giordano not only physically abused a handcuffed Abu Jamal in a police wagon by hitting him in the head with a metal walkie-talkie. Giordano, says O’Connor, “took command of the crime scene and personally set in motion the framing of Abu Jamal. It would be Giordano who claimed that Mumia told him in the paddy wagon that he dropped his gun after he shot Faulkner.”
There’s a source for the admission or confession, namely Giordano’s testimony – true or false – at a preliminary hearing in January 1982.
Of course, whether the corrupt Inspector did or did not fabricate Abu Jamal’s crime scene admission was of no consequence in this murder case. It simply didn’t matter.
True, or fabricated, it didn’t impact the 14 day jury trial. It didn’t cause the racially mixed jury to convict Abu Jamal of murder and criminal possession of the instrument of the crime because Giordano didn’t testify at the June-July 1982 trial.
Whether or not the dishonest cop fabricated the gun owner’s incriminating statement had no impact on the post conviction litigation either. Giordano didn’t testify at the 1995 new trial hearing.
O’Connor’s research produced the claim that the Inspector made contact with trial witnesses Cynthia White and Robert Chobert at the crime scene, and somehow got them to claim they’d been eyewitnesses to Abu Jamal’s murder of the cop despite the “fact” that neither one had seen the shooting:
It would be Giordano who arranged for prostitute Cynthia White and felon Robert Chobert to identify Abu Jamal as the shooter. He coerced her at the scene to identify Abu Jamal as the shooter. That makes for good copy.
Crime Solver’s Source?
But the book author doesn’t give his enthralled readers the source of that astounding “fact.”
The source certainly couldn’t have been the Black pedestrian eyewitness who’d sworn at trial that she’d watched Abu Jamal shoot the cop from her vantage point on the southeast corner of 13th and Locust.
Cynthia White has been dead since about 1992.
It couldn’t have been a conversation with Giordano or cabbie-eyewitness Robert Chobert or the author would have mentioned it.
It couldn’t be a court record. None exists to establish that “fact.”
Perhaps it was divine inspiration.
The most imaginative aspect of author O’Connor’s superb work of fiction is the creative way that the crime author, a rival to Chief Inspector Clouseau in solving mystery-murders, figured out all by himself that the passenger in the VW killed Officer Faulkner.
Crime Reporter’s Conclusion
How in the world did an experienced crime journalist like J. Patrick O’Connor come to the conclusion that it was William Cook’s VW passenger who shot the cop?
Unfortunately for anyone looking for something other than advocacy journalism, The Framing’s author started with a presumption, a conclusive presumption, not a rebuttable one (like the presumption of innocence) that can be overcome by cold hard facts:
It just doesn’t fit his (Abu Jamal’s) nature to get involved in something like this.
For starters, the crime journalist certainly didn’t get his unique “Freeman did it” insight from the “real killer” himself.
Kenneth Freeman (“Poppi”) had been dead for several years when author O’Connor began his one man Abu Jamal exoneration project.
The author certainly didn’t get it from testimony of the driver of the VW.
William Cook didn’t testify at his older brother’s murder trial, or at his July 3, 1982 penalty trial. He didn’t testify at Mumia’s disastrous July-August 1995 new trial hearing based on “newly discovered evidence of innocence.” Thus, author O’Connor didn’t have any transcripts of Cook’s testimony on direct and on cross examination to solve this 26 year old murder case.
More importantly, the Mumia-friendly crime sleuth never took the trouble to track down Abu Jamal’s brother, query him, see what he had to say, and then make an investigative journalist’s credibility determination before he leaped to his remarkable conclusion that the VW passenger – not the VW driver’s brother - shot the cop.
The crime author’s failure to interview a live person made it impossible for him to assess Cook’s credibility and his motives.
All O’Connor had to work with in his multi-year search for the “real killer” was Cook’s pathetically phony April 29, 2001 written Declaration in which he swore that “I never raised my hand to the policeman,” despite: being found guilty in March of 1982 of punching the cop in the face with his closed fist; and thereafter pleading “guilty, Your Honor,” several months later after an appeals court reversed his assault conviction on a procedural ground, and he appeared again in the trial court for a 2nd assault and resisting arrest trial.
For anyone familiar with the 1982 murder trial testimony and the testimony of Cook’s March 1982 assault trial, not only was William Cook’s 2001 denial of hitting the murdered cop hard to believe, but the younger Cook brother’s account of the murder materially contradicted the older Cook brother’s account of the same event.
Abu Jamal –Wesley Cook - claimed in his May 3, 2001 Declaration that after he’d “heard what sounded like gun shots” he’d observed his brother outside his VW “standing in the street staggering and dizzy.”
He “immediately exited the cab and ran to his scream.”
As he “came across the street” a “uniformed cop” (i.e., Officer Faulkner) shot him, he “went down to his knees,” and went into a “stupor.”
This language obviously doesn’t place Abu Jamal close to the uniformed cop who was on the sidewalk with his brother.
It obviously doesn’t comport with the non contradicted trial testimony from a forensic expert who established in 1982 that the muzzle of Officer Faulkner’s gun that fired a bullet into Abu Jamal’s jacket (exhibit “C-54”) was less than 12 inches from Abu Jamal’s outer clothing.
That’s why primer lead residue was found surrounding the bullet hole on the defendant’s jacket.
Plus, according to Cook’s Declaration, Officer Faulkner was standing in front of his VW – several yards away from his brother – when Cook supposedly saw his brother get shot in the chest.
In effect, the Declaration of Abu Jamal’s younger brother calls Mumia – Wesley Cook -a liar.
William Cook swears that all of the shots occurred after his brother, Mumia, was racing across the street. Abu Jamal swears that the shots occurred before he left his cab and raced towards his brother.
Cook doesn’t claim that he was “in the street staggering and dizzy” where his brother could see him.
William (with 19 years to prepare his transparently phony scenario) swore in his April 29, 2001 Declaration that before any shots had been fired, and while he was inside his VW, he’d observed his older brother “running” across the street, he was “feet away from me.”
William heard one shot (while he was still inside his automobile). It hit his brother. After hearing the first shot Cook said he heard some more “gun shots.”
William “got out” of his VW, saw his “brother down on the ground,” saw a “gun on the street,” and “kicked it under” his VW.
Prior to that happening, Cook’s Declaration would have you believe that after the cop brutalized him by beating him over the head and causing “intense bleeding,” he went back into his VW where the passenger, Kenneth Freeman, was still in the front passenger seat.
While Cook “was in the front seat” – next to Freeman – he was “looking in the back seat” to “get his paperwork” to “give to the cop.” Officer Faulkner was outside the VW “in front of the car by the hood where he had stopped me and frisked me.”
While still “looking in the back” Cook claims he “heard shots and saw sparks, but I didn’t see him (Officer Faulkner).”
When the cop was shot Cook swears:
When I was looking at the back seat Poppi (Kenneth Freeman) was still there, and then I looked and Poppi’s door was open….He left the arearight after this happened.
One doesn’t have to be a rocket scientist, a criminal appeals lawyer, a crime journalist, an investigative reporter for the New York Times, or a regular coach potato observer of Law & Order or Bones, to figure out that Cook, the brother of the framed man in prison, sharply contradicts the startling conclusion of The Framing of Mumia Abu Jamal.
According to Cook’s Declaration the VW passenger, Freeman, was still there, i.e., still inside the VW when Cook heard someone shooting the cop as Cook was looking in the back seat.
Freeman – “Poppi” – couldn’t have been the person who shot the cop.
Freeman couldn’t have been in two places at the same time.
The armed and dangerous VW passenger couldn’t have been outside the VW shooting the cop in the back and in the face, and simultaneously been inside the vehicle (i.e., “still there”) as Cook heard the gunshots that killed the policeman.
Obviously someone from Mumia’s supporters in the Hollywood elite should have given Cook some script writing assistance before he published his 19 years tardy scenario.Real Killer’s Confession
Cook also claims in his 2001 Declaration that Kenneth Freeman – “Poppi” – told him sometime after the shooting that he’d “talked about a plan to kill Faulkner. That he was armed that night and participated in the shooting.”
Author O’Connor naively accepts this baloney story as gospel truth.
But even fellow progressive author and Abu Jamal defender David Lindorff doesn’t believe William Cook’s account. He wisely opined in Killing Time that:
It strains credulity to imagine that Cook would have allowed Abu-Jamal to suffer through the setting of two execution dates, and to exist in the living hell of a super-max penitentiary death-row, if he had information (from 12/9/81 through 4/29/01) that could have saved him. (p.23)
The Framing fails to address - and give the reader an answer - to a few questions that a 1st year journalism student would have addressed in researching this 1981 murder case.Cook’s Strange Delay
If the fatal shooting occurred the way the convicted murderer’s brother claims it occurred, then surely the VW driver – Abu Jamal’s brother – would have been a valuable eyewitness and ear-witness source of credible evidence of Abu Jamal’s innocence at his 1982 murder trial. After all, Cook’s Declaration not only exculpates his older brother of 1st degree murder, it also contains a verbal confession from the “real killer,” the VW passenger.
If that 2001 scenario were true, how come the younger Cook brother waited until 19 years after his brother had been convicted of capital murder before he decided to reveal that the passenger in his VW – Poppi – was the real killer?
William Cook wasn’t in a coma or on safari in central Africa from December 9, 1981 until jury selection began in early June of 1982. He still lived in Philadelphia.
If his exculpatory account were true in 2001, how come Cook didn’t bring his “Freeman did it and confessed he did it” scenario to the attention of Abu Jamal’s African American trial lawyer, Anthony Jackson, before the 1982 trial started?
If true, how come he didn’t bring it to the attention of his and Wesley Cook’s (Mumia Abu Jamal’s) mother, Edith Cook, or their sister, Edith Wallace, who were present in court every single day of the June 17th through July 2nd trial?
If Cook’s description of the 3:51 AM, December 9, 1981 murder were true when he published it in writing in April of 2001, how come he didn’t tell his beloved brother’s lawyer his exculpatory story after the jury was sworn in on June 16, 1982?
If the lawyer wasn’t accessible, how come Cook didn’t reveal his scenario to the free press, or the NAACP, or some local Black office holder, or to someone in the Philadelphia branch of the National Association of Black Journalists?
His brother Wesley – Mumia - was the past president of the local chapter of the NABJ.
Its members had contributed to Abu Jamal’s defense fund.
The 1982 trial transcript demonstrates that William Cook was physically present as a spectator in courtroom #253 on the 1st day of his older brother’s capital murder trial. He and Mumia’s twin – Wayne Cook – were held in contempt of court on Thursday, June 17, 1982 for punching and fighting with a deputy sheriff in the courtroom, and for yelling:
This is a fucking railroad!
So we know that Abu Jamal’s younger brother didn’t have laryngitis in 1982 – and so does the crime author who claims that he’d perused the 5,000 page trial transcript.
From June 17th through Friday, July 2, when the jury convicted his beloved older brother of 1st degree murder, William was available to testify, and there was nothing wrong with his vocal chords.
He was either out on bail for the contempt citation or still in the local hoosegow.
Yet he never came forward to tell the 12 fact-finders that he knew of his own knowledge that it wasn’t his older brother, the gun owning radio journalist, who’d shot the cop – it was his passenger in the VW – Poppi – who was still alive.
Surely author O’Connor must have pondered Cook’s unexplained 19 year delay before he decided to accept a scenario that Cook supposedly kept secret for almost two decades, and then “solved” the murder by claiming that Kenneth Freeman was the real killer.
In July-August 1995 William Cook was in Philadelphia for his brother’s new trial hearing. He was listed on the typed witness list prepared by Abu Jamal’s lawyers, Weinglass, Williams, and Wolkenstein. He’d spoken to attorney Rachel Wolkenstein about testifying (according to Cook and the lawyer).
In June, July, and August of 1995 it was common knowledge in Philadelphia that the newly elected Republican Governor, Tom Ridge, had signed a death warrant for Cook’s brother to be executed on August 17, 1995.
If the contents of Cook’s 2001 Declaration were true in the summer of 1995, how come he didn’t come to court and testify that Freeman was the real cop killer, not his incarcerated older brother?
Did it make sense to the author of The Framing that a younger brother would remain silent in July and August while his beloved brother was in imminent danger of death by lethal injection?
Of course not.
Moreover after Abu Jamal lost his petition for a new trial in September of 1995, and after he’d lost his state appeal from that decision in the Pa. Supreme Court in October of 1998, Abu Jamal’s lawyers, Weinglass and Williams, prepared and filed a federal petition for habeas corpus relief. The Republican Governor, Tom Ridge, signed a 2nd death warrant for Cook’s brother to be executed in December of 1999 thereby again placing him in imminent danger of execution by lethal injection.
If the contents of Cook’s 2001 fairy tale were true in 1999 – before the 2nd death warrant was stayed by court order – how come Cook didn’t bring his “Mumia’s innocent” scenario to the attention of attorneys Weinglass and Williams?
It should be obvious to anyone without an agenda that William Cook’s 2001 account smacks of fabrication.
Transparently phony, utterly silly fabrication.
It’s a 19 years too late attempt to get the public to buy a new “Mumia’s Innocent!” scenario after no one in his or her right mind accepted William Singletary’s, William Harmon’s, or The Mob Hit Man’s fairy tale descriptions of the December 9, 1981 cop killing.
It’s difficult to believe that a journalist of O’Connor’s experience and intelligence didn’t address any of these delay in coming forth and credibility issues in his 274 page book whose “Mumia was framed!” thesis was based on a typed piece of paper signed by someone he never even bothered to interview.
Perhaps the author was afraid that if he met and interviewed Abu Jamal’s brother he wouldn’t believe Cook’s reality-challenged scenario the same way that fellow progressive author Dave Lindorff hadn’t believed Abu Jamal’s 2001 scenario or The Mob Hit Man’s 1999 scenario, or William (“Helicopter”) Singletary’s 1995 scenario.
More importantly, the Crime Magazine editor who claims to have solved the mystery of who “really” killed the cop - never spoke to the person his book attempts to exonerate: – Mumia Abu Jamal.
Thus, it was impossible for him to assess the credibility of the scenario the peace-loving “framed” murderer spun in his 2001 Declaration.
The victim of the 1981 police-DA frame-up wasn’t hard to locate.
He wasn’t on Devil’s Island. He wasn’t being water-boarded at Club Gitmo.
While Chief Inspector Clouseau’s rival in solving mysterious murders was working on his book, the subject of The Framing was domiciled at State Correctional Institution Greene in Waynesburg, Pa., about six-seven hours drive on the interstate from Philadelphia.
Abu Jamal was accessible to journalists – especially ones willing to promote The Political Prisoner’s “I was framed-up and railroaded” myth.
That’s obvious because a British journalist, Ms. Laura Smith, interviewed the convicted cop killer in October of 2007. Her puff piece interview is published on “mumia.org.”
Author O’Connor never visited the frame-up victim.
He never made an attempt to get on Mumia’s visitor list.
He never wrote to the Death-Row prisoner authorizing him to call his potential savior collect, to discuss the 3:51 AM, December 9, 1981 event.
Indeed, author O’Connor apparently never tried to communicate with the “peaceful” fellow journalist who’s been behind bars for over 26 years for a crime he supposedly didn’t commit.
The Framing author admires progressive investigative journalist Dave Lindorff who
wrote another “Mumia’s Innocent!” book, Killing Time-An Investigation Into The Death-
Row Case of Mumia Abu Jamal. O’Connor lauds him in his book’s Acknowledgements for “a seminal exploration of the case.”
Lindorff – who, like just about everyone else who’s read it - doesn’t believe Mumia’s May 3, 2001 phony account of the 1981 murder. But he at least tried to interview the “framed-up and railroaded” Political Prisoner as part of his investigation. (Abu Jamal refused to see him.)
Lindorff’s reality-challenged work, based on a two year investigation, and despite not believing Abu Jamal’s account of the shooting, concluded (on the last page of his 345 page book) that:
Meanwhile, a talented and potentially very influential Black man sits
on death-row on a charge – 1st degree murder – of which he is almost certainly innocent.
O’Connor doesn’t hedge the result of his investigation. The Framing doesn’t use the term “almost” in reference to Abu Jamal’s innocence.
It flat out asserts that “a blacked-out Abu Jamal” was in a stupor while the passenger in William Cook’s VW shot the cop in the back and in the face and then escaped. (pp.12, 115).
The crime reporter is certain of that despite the fact that he never spoke with the gun owning radio journalist, to his brother, William Cook, to a single one of the 1982 murder trial witnesses, or – most importantly – to the crime eyewitness who didn’t testify for the prosecution in 1982, Robert Harkins, and who, according to The Framing, is “one of the keys to everything about this case.”
Yet, the progressive author of The Framing is absolutely, positively, 100% certain that someone other than Mumia Abu Jamal was the “real killer” and that the owner of the hand gun seized at the crime scene – with all five bullets fired – is “innocent.”
The Framing’s Methodology
Here’s the unique, creative, highly imaginative way that J. Patrick O’Connor came to the conclusion that Kenneth Freeman, the passenger in Cook’s VW, shot the cop (although he never tells the reader whether Freeman shot him with the 38 Cook claims his passenger told him he was carrying, or with his brother Abu Jamal’s gun, and if the latter, just how Freeman had the time to exit the VW, go over to the “blacked-out” Abu Jamal, grab his five shot 38, and shoot the cop. More importantly, he never tells us exactly how did Freeman know that Abu Jamal had a concealed handgun in his shoulder holster under his outer jacket).
1st, the author decided that crime eyewitnesses Cynthia White and Robert Chobert didn’t see what they swore they’d seen at the 1982 murder trial. They lied.
2nd, the author read Robert Harkins 12/9/81 and 12/18/81 statements to the Homicide Unit detectives.
3rd, O’Connor concluded that the passenger in Cook’s VW and cabbie Robert Harkins “an eyewitness the prosecution didn’t call to testify are the keys to everything in this case.” (p.11)
4th, he concluded that because Harkins’ description of the shooting wasn’t consistent with the trial testimony of three state eyewitnesses, the prosecutor deliberately and dishonestly didn’t call Harkins to the stand “because his statements exculpated Abu Jamal as Faulkner’s killer.” (p. 63)
5th, he concluded that Abu Jamal’s lawyer (who was aware of Harkins’ pre-trial statements) didn’t call Harkins as a defense witness “because the defense was
underfinanced, overwhelmed, and in total disarray.” (p.63)
6th, the author quotes from both pre-trial statements and then cleverly infers from some of its language that Harkins “description of the shooter …points directly to the burly Freeman” and, more importantly:
It also excludes both Abu Jamal and his brother, Billy Cook, from being
the shooter. (p. 14)
7th, he states that Abu Jamal only weighed “170 pounds” and that trial witness Robert Chobert admitted that he’d told the police right after the murder that the shooter weighed about “200-225 pounds.”
Of course there’s zero in the trial record – or anywhere in the post conviction record – to prove that Abu Jamal weighed 170 pounds on December 9, 1981.
And, of course, the author conveniently neglects to tell his readers that trial exhibit
“C-28,” the federal firearms purchase document filled in and signed by the gun purchaser, stated that Mumia Abu Jamal’s weight was “200 lbs.”
Did author O’Connor ever speak with or write to the so called exculpatory witness?
Of course not.
But he did read Harkins “exculpatory” testimony at the 1995 new trial hearing based on “newly discovered evidence of innocence.”
Unfortunately for The Framing author, the transcript unambiguously indicates to any
sane person with a basic understanding of the English language - and no agenda - that the person Harkins saw shoot the cop couldn’t possibly have been the passenger in William Cook’s car, who, according to O’Connor’s other prime source (William Cook’s April 29, 2001 Declaration, para. 24) “left the area right after this happened.”
Harkins was called as a defense witness in 1995. He responded to a question from the convicted cop killer’s own lawyer, Daniel Williams, as to what happened after he saw the cop on the ground:
HARKINS: Well he (the shooter) leaned over and two, two to three
flashes from his gun. But then he (the shooter) sat down on the curb.
ATTORNEY WILLIAMS: (astonished by that answer) The guy that done the shooting walked and sat down on the curb.!?!
HARKINS: On the pavement. (Transcript – 8/2/95 – p. 210)
Abu Jamal’s flabbergasted lawyer wasn’t expecting that answer which obviously pointed directly at his gun owning client as the person Harkins had seen shooting the cop.
Attorney Williams immediately moved to strike the testimony he hadn’t wanted the hearing Judge, or the press, or Mumia’s adoring public to hear.
The Judge refused.
The Harkins As Exculpatory Witness trial balloon had burst. It was O-V-E-R. At least it was from August 2, 1995, to May 1, 2008, the publication date of The Framing.
In retrospect, although Harkins description of the shooting itself – as opposed to what Abu Jamal did after the shooting – differed materially from the description of the shooting by the prosecution’s four trial witnesses, he obviously corroborated the trial testimony of pedestrian eyewitness Cynthia White and cabbie Robert Chobert and pedestrian Albert Magilton.
White had testified (without contradiction from Abu Jamal or his brother, William Cook) that after she’d seen Abu Jamal shoot the cop in the back and the cop fell to the sidewalk:
Then he (the shooter) came on top of the officer and shot some
more times. After that he (the shooter) went over and slouched
and he sat on the curb. (Transcript, 6/19/82, p. 95).
Chobert testified – without contradiction from either of the criminally violent Cook brothers – that after he’d watched the shooter fire downward at the prone cop:
Then I saw him walk about 10 feet and he just fell by the curb.
(Transcript 6/19/82, p. 3.212)
Pedestrian eyewitness Albert Magilton testified – again without contradiction from either of the two “innocent” Cook brothers – that after he’d heard the shots, he’d walked towards where he’d previously seen the cop and the VW driver. The man – Mumia Abu Jamal - he’d seen racing across the street at the cop’s back “was like sitting on the curb…by the front of the Volkswagen.” (Transcript 6/25/82, p. 78).
It’s unfortunate for the framed up and railroaded Political Prisoner that author O’Connor wasn’t in contact with William Cook just before he signed and published his April 29, 2001 Declaration.
The Framing author could have drafted this scenario for Cook’s signature:
Freeman was still sitting in the passenger seat when Cook, blood trickling down his neck, got back into the VW to look for his car’s registration papers. Freeman, a hardscrabble U.S. Army veteran, saw Abu Jamal running toward the VW, being shot point-blank range in the chest by Faulkner, and collapsing to the ground. Freeman got out of the VW.
That’s exactly what author O’Connor claims in his fact-challenged, zero interviews book at p.12.
Where did he get the “fact” that Freeman, the real killer, saw Abu Jamal get shot?
He didn’t get it from either Cook brother, or from Robert Harkins.
He didn’t get it from Freeman who’s been dead and buried since 1978.
Freeman didn’t leave a diary – or an Arnold R. Beverly style video – saying this.
Author O’Connor just made it up.
The crime author’s scenario makes for a scintillating screenplay for still another “Mumia Was Framed!” movie, or for another pro cop killer infomercial like HBO’s 1996 so called documentary, Mumia Abu Jamal-A Case For Reasonable Doubt.
But The Framing is not objective journalism.
It’s not investigative journalism.
It’s well-crafted, pure unadulterated fiction.
But fictionalized accounts of the 26 year old murder aren’t going to get the remorseless cop killer a "Get of Jail Free" card.
What Mumia needs more than anything else is for someone like yourself to invent for him an “innocent” scenario that, unlike The Framing of Mumia Abu Jamal, passes the giggle test.
So please, p-u-h-l-e-e-z-e, crank up your PC, get into Microsoft word, take a few extra puffs on that blunt, get your creative juices flowing, and create a “Mumia’s Innocent!” scenario that’s better than J. Patrick O’Connor’s, William Singletary’s, William Harmon’s, William Cook’s, the convicted cop killer’s, and the Mob Hit Man’s, and send it certified mail to:
The Political Prisoner
Mumia Abu Jamal - # 1350
c/o The Warden
Greene State Correctional Facility
160 Progress Drive
Waynesburg, Pa. 15370
If the “framed-up and railroaded” radio journalist decides to use it, he’ll publicly give you credit for it on his next scheduled weekly broadcast on Prison Radio.
He may even give you a 10% discount on his soon to be published 6th book, The Jail House Lawyer.
Even if no state or federal court believes it you may very well be commencing a newly successful career as a fiction writer – like crime author J. Patrick O’Connor.
Author: Mumia Abu Jamal-The Patron Saint of American Cop Killers (2006 Edit)
(Available at “amazon.com” and“barnes&noble.com.”
The 2nd book on the gun owning radio journalist, The Political Prisoner-Mumia Abu Jamal, will be published in the autumn of 2008.