2011 - The Year We Take Back Congress and Make Obama's Life Hell!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Drastic Increase in Philliness Today!

U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah (D., Phila.) doesn't think Mumia Abu-Jamal got a fair shake from the legal system that convicted him of killing Philadelphia policeman Daniel Faulkner.

But Fattah, a mayoral candidate, voted Wednesday to condemn the French city of St. Denis for renaming a street after the celebrity inmate - a renaming that proponents said was intended to focus world attention on the same alleged injustice long criticized by Fattah.

Fattah's vote, on a purely symbolic resolution sponsored by outgoing U.S. Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R., Pa.), represented his latest effort to grapple with an issue that remains a political sore point a quarter century after Faulkner's death. He was shot and killed Dec. 9, 1981 - 25 years ago tomorrow.

Last week, Robert Eddis, president of Lodge Five of the Fraternal Order of Police, posted a letter on the police union's Web site vowing that members would work against Fattah's candidacy as a protest against his assertions that Abu-Jamal deserves a new trial.

Eddis also criticized Fattah for not signing on as a cosponsor of the St. Denis resolution. The measure was cosponsored by several area representatives, including U.S. Rep. Bob Brady (D., Pa.), a possible mayoral rival.

But along with voting for the measure, Fattah released a statement that said: "While I remain unconvinced that justice has been served in this case, I am voting for the Resolution because the glorification of anyone who stands convicted of so terrible an offense is an affront to those who risk their lives on a daily basis to serve and protect."

Critics - who now include Abu-Jamal supporters, as well as those who wish Abu-Jamal had been executed years ago - say they think Fattah is trying to have it both ways.

"He's talking out of both sides of his mouth," Eddis said. "Take a stand and stand on it. How can you not support asking France to take down the name of a street named after any murderer - especially of someone in the line of duty wearing a uniform here?"

"Chaka's lying about his position and how he feels. If you can't be a stand-up person now, what are you going to be when you get in the office?" said Pam Africa, a leader of the radical group MOVE and a person who contends Abu-Jamal was unfairly convicted. "Why would you condemn them for doing what he tried to do before: bring worldwide attention to the case?"

Fattah campaign spokesman Solomon Jones declined to comment further, saying the representative's earlier statement stands for itself.

Contact staff writer Michael Currie Schaffer at 215-854-4565 or mcschaffer@phillynews.com.

The TrekMedic can only shake his head and add:



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