Letter to KQED Protesting Documentary “Philly DA”

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April 11, 2021

Michael Isip
President and CEO
50 Beale Street, 5th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94105

            Re:      Request for Equal Time on “Philly D.A.”

Dear Mr. Isip,

We are writing you to express our concern about the upcoming PBS series “Philly D.A.”, and to ask that we be given Equal Time to present another side of Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner’s actions towards the unjustly convicted.

In the trailer for “Philly D.A”, Mr. Krasner states that he has overturned 800 convictions by corrupt police officers.[1]  In the process, he has earned the enmity of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP). Yet in a case involving virtually the entire Philadelphia police chain of command – a police department which was, at the time, under investigation by the United States Department of Justice for systematic racist violence and corruption – Mr. Krasner has chosen the side of the police.

That is the case of the U.S.’s best known political prisoner: Mumia Abu-Jamal, a demonstrably innocent man, former Black Panther and award-winning journalist, who worked for some years for NPR prior to his trial for the shooting of police officer Daniel Faulkner in 1981.

When Mumia Abu-Jamal was originally tried for the shooting of police officer Daniel Faulkner in 1981, the trial judge, Albert Sabo, said “Yeah, and I’m going to help them fry the nigger.”  These words were sworn to by court stenographer, Terri Maurer-Carter, who was present when Judge Sabo said them in 1981.

Despite evidence of Mumia’s innocence, including perjured police testimony, the suborning of witnesses, the systematic exclusion of Blacks from the jury, the suppression of photographic forensic evidence and Judge Sabo’s refusal to hear the confession of another man that he actually killed Daniel Faulkner, D.A. Larry Krasner, in two recent court filings, has embraced every single aspect of the original frame-up, thus adopting the perspective of the Fraternal Order of Police.

Krasner now opposes appeal rights granted to Abu-Jamal by Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge Leon Tucker, the only Black jurist to ever review the case.  Tucker, a Republican, found that all of Mumia’s previous appeals, spanning more than a decade, were tainted by the appearance of judicial bias.

Nelson Mandela and Bishop Desmond Tutu have spoken out in Abu-Jamal’s defense.  So have dozens of members of the British Parliament and of the U.S. Congressional Black Caucus.  Labor unions across the globe have demanded his freedom. Here in the Bay Area, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) shut down docks along the entire West Coast for a day in 1999 to demand his freedom, leading a march of 25,000 through the streets of San Francisco.

We request that Independent Lens/KQED broadcast the 25-minute documentary “Manufacturing Guilt” by Stephen Vittoria (from First Run Features). Mr. Vittoria has granted us permission to show his film.  The film demonstrates that every key piece of the prosecution’s case is a lie and that Mumia is innocent.[2]

Civil rights activist and former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick also recently recorded a five minute video summing up the case and calling for Mumia’s freedom.[3] We are requesting that you broadcast this video alongside “Philly D.A.”.

Independent Lens and KQED can present a fairer and more balanced view of Larry Krasner and of Mumia Abu-Jamal by showing “Manufacturing Guilt” and the Kaepernick video.  Truth, the concept of Equal Time and the Fairness Doctrine require nothing less.

We look forward to your response. You may reach the undersigned at (510) 501-7080, or by email at jackheyman@comcast.net.

Very truly yours,

Angela Davis
Scholar, Activist
Distinguished Professor Emerita, History of Consciousness Dept., University of California, Santa Cruz

Gerald Smith
Former Black Panther

Arthur League
Former Black Panther

Boots Riley
Oakland Filmmaker
Writer and Director, “Sorry to Bother You”

Julia Wright
International Representative, International Concerned Friends and Family of Mumia Abu-Jamal / Mobilization4Mumia

Howard Keylor
International Longshore and Warehouse Union, Local 10 (Exec. Board – Ret.)

Jack Heyman
International Longshore and Warehouse Union, Local 10 (Exec. Board – Ret.)

Clarence Thomas
International Longshore and Warehouse Union, Local 10 (Exec. Board – Ret.)

Pete Farruggio, Ph.D
International Longshore and Warehouse Union, Local 6 (Exec. Board – Ret.)
Associate Professor, Bilingual Education (Ret.), University of Texas RGV

Stan Woods
International Longshore and Warehouse Union, Local 6 (Exec. Board – Ret.)
Local Station Board, KPFA (former)

Mary Ratcliff
San Francisco Bay View National Black Newspaper

Robert Mandel
Oakland Teachers for Mumia
Adult School Teachers United

Richard Tan
Attorney at Law
The Labor Action Committee to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal

Judy Greenspan
Prisoners Solidarity Committee, Workers World Party

Carole Seligman
Editor, Socialist Viewpoint

Jay Steinberg
No Justice Under Capitalism

Patricia Gorky
Party for Socialism and Liberation – Bay Area

Richard Becker
ANSWER Coalition – Bay Area

Marsha Feinland
Executive Committee, Peace and Freedom Party of California

Frank Runninghorse
Oscar Grant Committee Against Police Brutality and State Repression
Teamsters for a Democratic Union (former organizer)

[1]           https://www.pbs.org/independentlens/videos/philly-da-official-trailer
[2]           A copy of this film is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y0GbNwKmHaE
[3]           A copy of this film is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=To62En75n8I