A Slap in the Face to LEO’s

October 1, 2014

In a move that should be seen as a slap in the face to law enforcement officers, everywhere, the students of Goddard College in Vermont have selected convicted cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal to deliver the school’s Fall commencement address.
Abu-Jamal, who was removed from death row in 2011, has been serving out a life sentence at the Mahanoy State Correctional Institution in Frackville, Pa. In 1996, he received a bachelor’s degree from the Plainfield, Vt. liberal arts school.
Abu-Jamal will will record a video of his remarks in prison to be played at the commencement ceremony.
He has long maintained his innocence, but the evidence against him is overwhelming.
“The question of Abu-Jamal’s guilt is not a close call,” according to John Fund. “Two hospital workers testified that Abu-Jamal confessed to them: ‘I shot the motherf***er, and I hope the motherf***er dies.’ His brother, William, has never testified to his brother’s innocence even though he was at the scene of the crime. Abu-Jamal himself chose not to testify in his own defense.”
As Faulkner tried to arrest Abu-Jamal’s brother during a traffic stop, Abu-Jamal shot the policeman once in the back and then stood over him and shot him four more times at close range, once directly in the face. Multiple eyewitnesses were present during the crime.
It would be one thing of Abu-Jamal had confessed his crime, apologized and tried to make amends.
The first step toward forgiveness and redemption is admission of guilt. But cop killer Abu-Jamal has done none of that. Instead he’s played the race card and the victim card and manipulated a lot of gullible liberals – including these students at Goddard – to lionize him.

David Porter
Associated Press

TRENTON, N.J. — A man convicted in the shooting death of a New Jersey state trooper in a crime that still provokes strong emotion among law enforcement more than 40 years later was ordered released on parole by a state appeals court Monday.

Sundiata Acoli was known as Clark Edward Squire when he was convicted of the 1973 slaying of state trooper Werner Foerster during a stop on the New Jersey Turnpike. Now in his mid-70s, he was denied parole most recently in 2011, but the appellate judges reversed that ruling Monday.

Trooper Werner Foerster. (New Jersey State Police Memorial Association Image)
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In a 28-page opinion, the panel wrote that the parole board ignored evidence favorable to Acoli and gave undue consideration to past events such as a probation violation that occurred decades earlier.

One of the three people in the car when it was stopped was Joanne Chesimard, who also was convicted of Foerster’s slaying, but eventually escaped to Cuba and is now known as Assata Shakur. Last year, state and federal authorities announced a $2 million reward for information leading to her capture, and the FBI made her the first woman on its list of most wanted terrorists. She and Acoli were members of black militant organizations at the time.

At the news conference last year announcing the increased reward for Shakur, Col. Rick Fuentes, superintendent of the New Jersey state police, called the case “an open wound.”

“I am both disheartened and disappointed by the appellate decision in this matter,” Fuentes said through a spokesman Monday. “The mere passage of time should not excuse someone from the commission of such a horrendous act. My thoughts and prayers go out to the Foerster family whose lives have been deprived of a father and son.”

According to court documents, Acoli’s gun went off during a struggle with Foerster, who had responded as backup after another officer pulled over the car for a broken tail light. The state contended Chesimard shot Trooper James Harper, wounding him, then took Foerster’s gun and shot him twice in the head with his own gun as he lay on the ground. A third man in the car, James Costen, died from his injuries at the scene.

Acoli has claimed he was grazed by a bullet and blacked out, and couldn’t remember the exact sequence of events. He was sentenced in 1974 to life plus 24 to 30 years, and was denied parole in 1993 and 2004. He is currently in prison in Otisville, New York, about 75 miles northwest of New York City.

The appellate judges wrote Monday that the parole board ignored a prison psychologist’s favorable report on Acoli and the fact that he had expressed remorse for the trooper’s death and had had no disciplinary incidents in prison since 1996. They also faulted the board for giving too much weight to Acoli’s past criminal record and an unspecified probation violation, which occurred several decades before the board’s decision.

“Make no mistake, we are completely appalled by Acoli’s senseless crimes, which left a member of the State Police dead and another injured, as well as one of Acoli’s associates dead and the other injured,” the judges wrote. “But Acoli has paid the penalty under the laws of this State for his crimes.”

Christopher Burgos, president of the state troopers’ fraternal association, called the court’s decision “unbelievably insane.”

“Once again the families affected who have lost loved ones in service to their state and country, law enforcement in New Jersey and the US have had wounds ripped open again 40 years later, and sadly we have seen the failure of our justice system to keep these violent offenders behind bars for the rest of their lives,” he wrote in an email.

Through a spokesman, the state attorney general’s office said it would appeal the decision and could seek a stay that, if granted, would postpone Acoli’s release.

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