In a video, Kaepernick is calling for the release from prison of Mumia Abu-Jamal, who was convicted of murder and sentenced to death in 1982 for the 1981 murder of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner.
He contends Abu-Jamal, 66, was “framed” in the killing of Faulkner by a racist police department.
“We’re in the midst of a movement that says Black Lives Matter. If that is the case, then Mumia’s life and freedom must matter,” Kaepernick said, before recounting the published writing, radio broadcasts and mentorship Abu-Jamal has done while incarcerated. “Even while living in the hells of the prison system, Mumia still fights for our human rights. We must continue to fight for him and his human rights.”
“Free Mumia,” Kaepernick urged.
In the video, Kaepernick cites what he believes are numerous instances of intolerable actions by the Philadelphia police department and the judge in the case.
Abu-Jamal’s case has been a cause celebre for decades. His case has been polarizing, as he was initially sentenced to death. The sentence was later changed to life in prison.
Kaepernick cites that Abu-Jamal has been incarcerated for 38 years, with 30 of those spent in solitary confinement.
Abu-Jamal is currently appealing for a new trial based on claims that Pennsylvania Supreme Court justice Robert Castille had a conflict of interest (when Castille was Philadelphia’s district attorney, his office fought to keep the activist and prolific writer behind bars), and six newly discovered boxes of documents related to the case, which the original prosecutor never turned over as evidence.
Abu-Jamal’s case is currently before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, which in February agreed to take up a petition filed last year by Faulkner’s widow, Maureen Faulkner, to determine whether the office of Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner has a conflict of interest in its continued handling of appeals by Abu-Jamal. She is asking for the court to direct the state Attorney General’s Office to handle the appeals instead.
Faulkner’s widow, Maureen, who has since remarried, and her husband, Paul Palkovic, said Monday that they would be willing to talk to Kaepernick about the facts in the case. “I’ll be more than happy to talk to Mr. Kaepernick to ease his concerns,” she said.
“It’s the same thing they’ve been doing for 40 years,” Palkovic said of the allegations of misconduct by Abu-Jamal supporters. “Lies, rehashing the same stuff.”
Maureen Faulkner is asking for the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to direct the state attorney general’s office to handle the appeal instead.