Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has called for the release of former Black Panther Mumia Abu-Jamal. While speaking at Mumia Campaign's "Freedom & Abolition" conference, he spoke to the ills of the criminal justice system and the fight for Abu-Jamal's release.
"When I was invited to speak on behalf of Mumia, one of the first things that came to mind was has been how long he's been in prison," the former NFL quarterback said.
"How many years of his life has been stolen away from him, his community and his loved ones? Mumia has been in prison longer than I've been alive."
Abu-Jamal has served nearly four decades behind bars after being convicted of killing a police officer named Daniel Faulkner at the age of 27. Abu-Jamal was reportedly driving nearby when he learned that Faulkner had stopped Abu-Jamal's brother, William Cook. When Abu-Jamal arrived on the scene, Cook and Faulkner were allegedly engaged in an altercation. He then reportedly attempted to intervene, but was shot in the stomach. Faulkner sustained fatal gunshot wounds to the head and back.
"Since 1981, Mumia has maintained his innocence," Kaepernick stated.
"His story has not changed. Mumia was shot, brutalized, arrested and chained to a hospital bed."
Human Rights Watch, the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund and many other organizations have expressed frustration with the trial that Abu-Jamal was given. His supporters have expressed issues with the procedural process and lack of Black jurors.
Despite setbacks, Abu-Jamal has continued to utilize his voice from behind bars. Over the last 38 years, he has written several books, essays and other works. He has also worked as correspondent for PrisonRadio.org and addressed Goddard College in 2014.
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