About 30 supporters of convicted cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal rallied Friday outside the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, decrying a Pennsylvania Supreme Court order that calls for an investigation of whether District Attorney Larry Krasner’s office has a conflict in its continued prosecution of Abu-Jamal’s appeals.

Pam Africa of MOVE; Johanna Fernandez of the Campaign to Bring Mumia Home; and Abu-Jamal’s brother Keith Cook were among the speakers, who said that documents found in six boxes of files that Krasner stumbled upon in December 2018 in a storage closet of the district attorney’s office represent newly discovered evidence that merits a new trial.

Fernandez, a professor at Baruch College in New York City, referenced one document in which a key prosecution witness, who identified Abu-Jamal at his 1982 trial as the man who shot Police Officer Daniel Faulkner, sent a letter afterward to the trial prosecutor “to find out,” he wrote, “about the money” he presumably thought he would be receiving.

“Mumia will be free,” Fernandez called out.

Johanna Fernandez, a supporter of Mumia Abu-Jamal, spoke outside the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office during the rally on Friday, Feb. 28, 2020.
JOSE F. MORENO / Staff Photographer
Johanna Fernandez, a supporter of Mumia Abu-Jamal, spoke outside the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office during the rally on Friday, Feb. 28, 2020.

Joseph McGill, the lawyer who prosecuted Abu-Jamal, said in an affidavit signed last year that he never promised “anything of value” to a witness in exchange for testimony at trial.

Carrying signs and a large white “Bird of Freedom for Mumia,” created from cardboard, fabric, and bamboo, Abu-Jamal’s supporters walked from the district attorney’s office to Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s Center City office to show their opposition to his office’s potentially receiving the case.

Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5 president John McNesby said in a statement, “The only thing missing from today’s Free Mumia protest was an accurate and objective look at the facts of this case. The evidence today is as clear as it was nearly 40 years ago, Mumia Abu-Jamal murdered hero Officer Danny Faulkner and was sentenced to life in prison. Enough is enough, end the frivolous appeals to reopen this case.”

Monday’s Supreme Court order followed a petition by Faulkner’s widow, Maureen, who asked the court to remove the District Attorney’s Office and direct the Attorney General’s Office to handle continuing appeals. The court deferred a final ruling on the merits of Faulkner’s petition, but said it would appoint a special master to investigate whether Krasner’s office has any conflicts in the case.