Mumia Abu-Jamal is currently serving a life sentence for the alleged murder of a Philadelphia police officer in 1981. Considered by many to be a “political prisoner,” Abu-Jamal was originally sentenced to death; his case was appealed in 2011 and his sentence was commuted to life in prison. He continues his efforts to get a new trial, arguing that his original trial was rife with judicial and prosecutorial error and misconduct.
In December of 1981, Abu-Jamal was working as a radio journalist during the day and driving a cab at night. On the night of December 9, he witnessed Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner in an altercation with a Black motorist. Abu-Jamal recognized the motorist as his own brother and left his cab to intervene. What happened next has been disputed for the last 30 years.
The prosecution argues that Mumia Abu-Jamal, armed with a hatred of police since his days as a member of the Black Panther Party, shot Officer Faulkner several times, killing him. Before he died, according to the prosecutor, Faulkner was able to shoot Mumia once in the stomach.
Mumia maintains that not only did he not shoot Faulkner, but that the Philadelphia police department decided to frame him for the murder as payback for his years of reporting on their brutality against Blacks in the city. No gunshot residue was found on Mumia’s hand; no search was undertaken to find the motorist (Mumia’s brother) who was involved in the altercation with Faulkner; and several witnesses who originally testified that they had seen Mumia shoot Faulkner later recanted their testimony, saying that they had been pressured by Philadelphia police to implicate Mumia.
Long Distance Revolutionary: A Journey with Mumia Abu-Jamal is not the first film on Abu-Jamal however, this one is different; this film does not examine his case but rather, it looks at his life as a writer and revolutionary – from joining the Black Panther Party for Self Defense as a teenager through becoming a celebrated author of eight books while on Pennsylvania’s death row.
The film, written and directed by Stephen Vittoria of Los Angeles-based Street Legal Cinema, features Cornel West, Alice Walker, Angela Davis, Rubin Hurricane Carter, Dick Gregory, Peter Coyote, Ruby Dee, M-1 from the Hip Hop group Dead Prez, and a host of others.
Angelo & SoCal residents –– come out THIS WEEKEND to see Long Distance Revolutionary. Playing March 1-7, four showings a day: 12:30 / 4:00 / 7:00 / 10:00