Troy Davis is spared for at least almost another month. Several very short stays in his execution date invigorated especially his local supporters. All of Georgia keenly aware of the difference between old Georgia and new Georgia. But in Philadelphia we have the saga of Kevin Brinkley and of Mumia abu-Jamal and Philadelphians not as keenly aware that Philadelphia under the late Frank Rizzo was almost an entirely different place.
But a far more amazing difference between Georgia and Pennsylvania is Georgian politician former Republican and current Libertarian Party candidate for President who like Reagan appointee William Sessions, former FBI director and former Chief Judge, U S District Court for Western Texas has eloquently come out for clemency for Troy Davis,
Imagine that somehow, Philadelphia’s infamous Frank Rizzo was still alive today, but was renouncing many of the things Frank Rizzo stood for while still keeping Rizzo’s image as a conservative. Bob Barr was the federal prosecutor for the central Georgia district where Troy Davis was arrested. He was responsible for the local war on drugs. And vigorously campaigned against medical marijuana after he advanced to becoming a member of the House of Representatives. Today he’s still pro-life or anti choice, and a serious Christian, but now campaigns for medical marijuana, while he urges the US to butt out and stop trying to prop up the rest of the world, while campaigning for medical marijuana. The overwhelming effect on a society of people changing has been under noticed. Lyndon Johnson could never have accomplished what he did for Civil Rights had he not previously been an extreme segregationist.
In Philadelphia when the subject of Kevin Brinkley or Mumia abu-Jamal comes up locals don’t rush to their support. Kevin Brinkley was never on death-row, because a 15-year-old kid, couldn’t be sentenced to death only to life imprisonment. Mumia didn’t have several very short bouts with the executioner with once only two hours between death and life, and he is off of death-row, so, to much of the anti-capital punishment crowd, he is no longer an important issue.
Ronald Brinkley who was 14 and would have been out of the justice system on his 21th birthday admitted under police interrogation that he killed deliveryman Charles Hagg in Noristown near Philadelphia. But the police much preferred to prosecute his older brother Kevin because Kevin could be given life imprisonment. The same age factor was true with Troy Davis. Sylvester Cole was known as a 16-year-old hothead who owned the kind of gun that killed Burger King guard and off duty police officer Mark MacPhail. The day after Mark MacPhail was murdered Sylvester Cole and his lawyer came into the police station and blamed 19-year-old Troy. The police very much wanted to believe him because they wanted to punish an adult not a child for the crime.
Here in Philadelphia the Frank Rizzo police department hated Mumia abu-Jamal. There was one newspaper report of the police storming Mumia’s mother’s apartment and in front of her neighbors urging her to stop her son’s reportings.
Today Mumia supporters claim that older Philadelphians were too afraid of the police to protest, so today only young people, and those not around back them, protest in his support. While Mumia haters claim that Philadelphians, old enough to know, know he is guilty and want him executed. The image of Philadelphians too afraid to protest was a disaster for the convention trade, and so was the image of Philadelphians a bunch of red-necks clamoring for the blood of someone who if he did what they said he did he acted under extreme distress. Especially someone much of the world knows personally do to his insightful prison writings.
Frank Rizzo didn’t mix with the Liberty Bell to make Philadelphia a nice place for conventions. Neither did the Osage Avene fire, following the dropping of a bomb and burning down a city block, nor Mumia on death row. Being off of death-row, the peace groups, Pax Christi and People united, held their conventions in downtown Philadelphia. But now the curse on the Liberty Bell is about to continue with a gambling casino planned within seeing distance from the Liberty Bell pavilion, giving America a gaudy new image to the world. Who would want to buy a hundred dollar meal at a fancy restaurant and have to listen to a rowdy patron. What elderly retired gentleman would want to live in Society Hill Towers, with a rowdy resident temporarily living for a few months near by, his guests passing out in the elevator and pissing on the lawn in front. And if someone said no, they would flip a few twenties to make it ok to other residents who to them it be similar to a drunk handing them spare change with piss on it.
I got a dream that Bob Barr would not only vague refer to prosecutorial misconduct but admit to at times padding the evidence in cases where he was involved in, or knew inside information of. However this might mean that in the non-drug cases he still approve of, the defendants may be able to claim that he must have behaved similarly and seek new trials as well
I wonder about something. Is justice in the world very tarnished, or is it just the non-European world? The US is close to permanently torn on whether to have the death sentence. What would happen if the cases of other people around the world, in jail, were examined closely? We know from experience, in the US, that traffic court is a mess, is all justice just as messy? Or is the US system of justice actually the plea-bargain not trial by jury, and the innocent are in an inherent disadvantage because they have less to plea bargain with. One can’t get life in exchange for death for telling where the body is, if one doesn’t know. And it’s hard to look remorseful if you didn’t do it. South Africa solved its justice problems with the South African Truth Commissions. What can the US do with its justice mess?
There is a problem with the Mumia abu-trial that only old timers with good memories know about. Many Philadelphians in the beginning were demanding “Why doesn’t Mumia or his brother tell what happened”. Then when Billy his brother got a suspended sentence for allegedly punching a cop connected to the incident Mumia was on death row about many more old timers were scratching their heads. But all we hear in Philadelphia is that Philadelphians are afraid of the police or Philadelphia crying out for his blood. When I tried to correct it again, in my third article in the Delaware County Times, every thing about Mumia’s innocence was left out making it appear that I was imply that guilty prisoner is causing trouble again. They never used to engage in heavy editing. And the Metro added in totally new words to make me say the opposite in what ended up a short letter. The badly wounded Mumia losing blood fast after he was shot, supposedly ran up to Officer Faulkner without leaving a trail of blood and carefully aimed his gun right into Officer Faulkner’s temple, then went back to the curb where he was first shot. Either Mumia’s brother got a suspended sentence in exchange for Mumia and him never mentioning the second shot. Billy claims he was in the car looking for the papers the officer wanted bleeding over everything from where he was hit in the ear with the officer’s flashlight and heard shots,
But the up close shot would have been a later incident, or it’s possible that Billy was responsible for one of the shots and that’s the reason Mumia claims to have seen very little. And the prosecutor was terrified that if a police officer was beating someone up because they didn’t like his brother, than a jury might have declared the shooting of an officer justified homicide. Either way America’s image is about to be cursed with a gambling casino near the Liberty Bell.
The next step is for every one to get involved in trying to free Kevin Brinkley and allow Ronald Brinkley and his relatives some kind of substantial retribution to the delivery man Charles Haggs relatives.
Links to Kevin Brickley’s story, Norristown Pennsylvania is where the murder occurred,