In class, we recently watch a movie on convicted cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal. While the movie was informative, I couldn’t help but being a little troubled by it. I began wondering why this man was so dangerous and yet so many people were standing up for him. In order to gain a better understanding of the situation, I visited www.danielfaulkner.com in order to get the other side of the story. I knew I would find some discrepancies between the sides telling their views. I thought these differences would be minimal at best but I was shocked to find out how dissimilar the two viewpoints were.
The movie we saw in class was very pro-Mumia. In it, various people talked about the trial, from the witnesses to the attorneys to Mumia Abu-Jamal himself. Throughout the movie, the narrator continually bashed the facts given by the police and the prosecuting attorney Joseph McGill. Whenever they stated a point, the next statement from the narrator was either negative or attempted to prove their statement wrong. However, when the defense attorney Anthony Jackson or any witnesses stated a point beneficial to Mumia, the narrator quickly agreed with their point. Also, these witnesses in the movie were all in support of Mumia Abu-Jamal even though some have changed their stories on a number of occasions. When Mumia himself talked, the narrator backed up his points by use of footage or supporting him further through the testimonies of the other witnesses or Anthony Jackson. Throughout the movie, all points were made clear by both sides. However, the narrator was biased towards one side and therefore, got a plethora of opinions instead of the facts surrounding this situation. Overall, the movie disappointed me.
After watching the movie and visiting the web site, I have come to the conclusion that Mumia Abu-Jamal is guilty of killing Officer Daniel Faulkner. The movie, to me, gave only one side of the story and heavily favored Mumia Abu-Jamal. However, most of the “facts” brought up in the movie were entirely false. Looking at the transcript of the trial can prove this. The doctor that removed the bullet from Faulkner’s body said it was fired from a .44 pistol in the movie. The doctor later retracted that statement due to the fact that he wasn’t a ballistics expert. However, the movie kept stating that the bullet was from a .44 pistol. There are two things wrong with this statement. First, a proven ballistics expert stated that the bullet was fired from a . 38 pistol, which was the caliber of the gun in Jamal’s possession. Second, a .44 pistol is usually a magnum or a semi-automatic weapon. One shot from either of those two guns would kill a person instantly. Faulkner was still alive after the shot to the back so it couldn’t have been a .44 pistol.
Another falsity of the movie was that Judge Albert Sabo was biased against Jamal. The movie claimed that Sabo unfairly sentenced Jamal to death due to his record as the judge with the most death sentences. This fact is also untrue. Sabo was never biased against Jamal. Also, the judge isn’t the one who sentences criminals. The jury decides the sentence. It was just mere coincidence that Sabo heard these cases. Furthermore, after he rejected Jamal’s appeal for an appeal, Sabo granted a stay of execution to Jamal. If Sabo was biased against Jamal and wanted him to die, why would he grant Jamal a stay of execution.
The last point I want to make is the evidence provided by the witnesses. It was difficult to tell from the movie whether Jamal was innocent or guilty due to the witnesses changing their stories constantly. However, by looking at the trial transcript, the facts that these witnesses provided can be seen. Dessie Hightower was the only witness to not change his story. He supported neither the prosecution nor defense. However, the other witnesses, with the exception of Cynthia White, changed their stories from claiming Jamal was the shooter to claiming that they were either influenced by the police to say so or was fearful of what would happen to them if they provided the real facts. To me, these witnesses are attempting to protect Jamal. You could go so far as to say that they were paid off to change their stories in order to support Jamal. A good example of this is Veronica Jones. Jones claimed that she was bullied into saying that Jamal shot Faulkner and was also given a break on some charges that were brought against her. However, how can you believe her? She is a convicted felon and may only be changing her story in order to help herself. Reading the trail transcript could easily disprove many of the “facts” provided by this movie.
By watching this movie and visiting www.danielfaulkner.com, I learned many of the falsities provided by the movie. By reading the transcript of the trial, I discovered how biased the movie was. Don’t get me wrong. The movie was very informative about the entire situation. However, if it presented more facts and fewer opinions and biases, the movie could’ve been a more enjoyable experience.