If you haven’t heard, Mumia Abu-Jumal is serving a life sentence for killing a Philadelphia police officer in 1981 during a traffic stop. The facts are not really in dispute, despite what Mumia’s ‘supporters’ say on their official website. Three independent witnesses in the original trial testified that they saw Mumia murder the cop among other strong kinds of evidence he’s guilty. So why is this guy’s face on t-shirts? Because various groups have cast him as a ‘political prisoner’ and a ‘wrongly convicted’ example of government oppression. Mumia was on death row until his sentence was commuted because The Man is trying to keep him down, blah, blah, blah.
Mumia was a journalist before going to prison and he has been honing his skills with a typewriter in his cell ever since his conviction. He’s been sitting there in his cell fanning the flames of class war, cop hatred, and 1970’s style civil unrest so well that he has become an honorary citizen of something like 25 foreign countries. Wearing one of his t-shirts has become a political act of angry protest against the ‘corrupt’ legal system.
Wearing one of his shirts in court is also like waving a red flag in front of a bull. Judges and police all over the country know that Mumia killed a cop. When you wear one of these shirts you announce that: 1. You like the idea of killing cops and this cop killer is your hero; or 2. You think Mumia is proof that the legal system is corrupt, unlawful, etc.; or both. Neither statement is viewed as a positive thing by the Judge deciding your case. Leave these t-shirts at home so that you get to go there after court.