Colin Kaepernick just added his name to a list of activists who have been calling for the release of a former Black Panther from prison for decades.
The former San Francisco 49ers QB publicly expressed support of the release of Mumia Abu-Jamal at a virtual conference earlier this week. Abu-Jamal was convicted of killing a Philadelphia police officer in 1981 and has served 38 years of a life sentence at a southwest Philadelphia prison thus far.
“When I was invited to speak on behalf of Mumia, one of the first things that came to mind was has been how long he’s been in prison,” Kaepernick said at the conference. “How many years of his life has been stolen away from him, his community and his loved ones? Mumia has been in prison longer than I’ve been alive.”
“Today we’re living through a moment where it’s acceptable to paint ‘end racism now’ in front of the Philadelphia Police Department’s 26th district headquarters, and yet a political prisoner who has since the age of 14 dedicated his life to fighting against racism, continues to be caged and lives his life on a slow death row,” Kaepernick said. “We’re in the midst of a movement that says Black Lives Matter. And if that’s truly the case, then it means that Mumia’s life and legacy must matter.”
Abu-Jamal was convicted of shooting police officer Daniel Faulkner after he had reportedly pulled over Abu-Jamal’s brother during a late-night traffic stop in 1981. Abu-Jamal and his supporters state a lack of Black jurors and racism all contributed to his sentencing. During the conference, Kaepernick said that Abu-Jamal had been “framed.”
“Since 1981, Mumia has maintained his innocence,” Kaepernick said. “His story has not changed. Mumia was shot, brutalized, arrested and chained to a hospital bed. The first police officer assigned to him wrote in a report that ‘The Negro male made no comment,’ as cited in Philadelphia magazine. Yet 64 days into the investigation, another officer testified that Mumia had confessed to the killing.”