Live From Death Row

Abu-Jamal, Mumia

Radio reporter sentenced to death for the murder of a Philadelphia police officer in a 1981 shoot-out that, according to court testimony, occurred when the officer stopped and beat up Abu-Jamal’s brother, William Cook, for a traffic violation. The circumstances of the crime remain hazy, in part because neither Abu-Jamal nor Cook has yet given his version of events.

A former official in the local Black Panther chapter and an outspoken critic of the city’s prosecution of a radical black group called MOVE, Abu-Jamal was hired in 1994 by National Public Radio to do a series of monthly three-minute commentaries about life behind bars for the respected “All Things Considered” nightly news program.

The reports were not to discuss his case, a rallying issue for the left. When police groups and the slain officer’s widow protested, NPR withdrew the assignment (the same pressure later worked on a local Philadelphia station… Continue reading