Philadelphia, PA – Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick was featured in a six-minute video released Monday advocating for the release of Mumia Abu-Jamal, the convicted cop killer who gunned down Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner in 1981.
“This is yet another Hail Mary pass by Kaepernick and Mumia supporters to free a convicted cop killer,” Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) Lodge #5 John McNesby told CBS News in a statement on Wednesday.
“These latest comments by Kaepernick only serve to re-victimize Danny’s widow Maureen and the entire Faulkner family,” McNesby said.
Officer Faulkner’s brutal murder occurred on Dec. 9, 1981, after he stopped a vehicle, driven by Abu-Jamal’s brother, for driving the wrong way down a one-way street, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.
As Officer Faulkner was attempting to take the driver into custody, Abu-Jamal came running from a parking lot across the street and opened fire on the 25-year-old police officer from behind.
Although he had been shot in the back four times, Officer Faulkner was able to return fire, striking the suspect.
Abu-Jamal, though hit, was able to continue shooting, and stood over the wounded officer and shot him in the face, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.
Officer Faulkner’s killer tried to flee, but collapsed several feet away from the fallen officer, gun in hand.
Abu-Jamal, a member of the Black Panthers, was convicted of the murder of Officer Faulkner in two separate trials and sentenced to death.
But his attorneys were able to have the death sentence changed to a life sentence in 2011 through a series of appeals.
Then they appealed again, on the basis that one of the state Supreme Court justices who heard his appeal had been district attorney during the time that office was working on Abu-Jamal’s case. The defense said he should have recused himself, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
In December of 2018, a Philadelphia judge ruled that Abu-Jamal would have another opportunity to appeal his case before the Pennsylvania Superior Court.
But Officer Faulkner’s widow said that Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner should not have anything to do with her murdered husband’s killer’s case because of a plethora of conflicts of interest.
The widow has said that Krasner’s wife, Judge Lisa Rau, used to be a partner in the law firm that defended Abu-Jamal.
She also objected to the fact that a top deputy in the district attorney’s office had once represented her husband’s killer, WHYY reported.
“You personally decided to have people who publicly advocated for the release of my husband’s killer on your transition team,” Maureen Faulkner said.
She has accused Krasner of having conflicts of interest, “rolling over on appeals,” and said that since he became district attorney in January of 2018, he has told her “numerous lies and half-truths,” the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
Faulkner petitioned the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to exercise its “King’s Bench” authority and take the case pending before the lower court.
“Krasner was an attorney and lead strategist on a legal team organized by a legal association on which Mumia Abu-Jamal is an active board member and which is dedicated to freeing Jamal,” Maureen Faulkner’s attorneys wrote in their request to the Philadelphia Supreme Court.
On Feb. 24, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court announced that it was appointing a Special Master to investigate conflicts of interest in Krasner’s handling of Abu-Jamal’s appeals.
The former National Football League (NFL) quarterback who hasn’t played a game since the season when he quit the San Francisco 49ers after leading players in taking a knee for the National Anthem, called Abu-Jamal “a human being who deserves to be free” in the video released Nov. 16.
“We’re in the midst of a movement that says ‘Black Lives Matter.’ And if that’s truly the case, then it means that Mumia’s life and legacy must matter. And the causes that he sacrificed his life and freedom for must matter as well,” Kaepernick said in the video.
“Through all of the torture Mumia has suffered over the past 38 years, his principles have never wavered,” the former professional football player insisted.
“We are living through a moment where it is acceptable to paint end racism now in front of the Philadelphia Police Department’s 26th District headquarters and yet a political prisoner who has since the age of 14 dedicated his life to fighting against racism continues to be caged and lives his life on a slow death row,” Kaepernick continued.
He also referenced the recent shooting of Walter Wallace by the Philadelphia police.
Wallace charged police officers with a knife and was fatally shot.
His family claimed they had called 911 and asked for a mental health response without police officers, sparking riots across the city.
But the 911 call recordings released later proved that none of the multiple family members or neighbors who had called for help had mentioned a mental health issue, although they did warn that Wallace was very violent and didn’t like police.
“[Mumia] is a grandfather, he is an elder with ailments, he is a human being who deserves to be free,” Kaepernick insisted in the video.
Then the activist called on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to deny Maureen Faulkner’s request to decide the case currently pending before the lower courts.
“Mumia has been in prison longer than I’ve been alive,” Kaepernick said. “Since 1981, Mumia has maintained his innocence. His story has not changed.”
The former quarterback’s stand for the convicted cop killer inspired criticism from people on both sides of the political aisle on social media.
“Um…no. I like Kaepernick. I even like Ed Asner. And I ain’t too crazy about Philly Police right now. But there is no one in jail as stone cold guilty of pre-meditated cop killing as Mumia. He stays where he lays,”@OnTaskDemocrat tweeted after the video came out.