HIZZONER ’07: Shitastic Schools, Crushing Poverty and Spiralling Gun Violence All Take Backseat To Dreadlocked Man Rotting In Prison 300 Miles Away

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.mumia13.jpg

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.

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