The American Legal System: Actively supporting and contributing to systemic racism

Arrested in 1981 for the murder of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner, Mumia Abu Jamal has become a national and international symbol for protests against the death penalty.  When Mumia Abu Jamal was arrested in 1982, he was a well known writer, radio host,  former Black Panther Party member and supporter of the MOVE movement in Philadelphia.  Mumia Abu Jamal was subject to surveillance by the FBI’s COINTELPRO surveillance program while he was an acitive member of the Black Panther Party in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s.  The purpose of the COINTELPRO surveillance was to infiltrate black radical groups and create disorder and  skepticism between members of the black radical groups.  After Mumia was arrested, Judge Sabo was overseeing Mumia Abu Jamal’s trial.  Mumia Abu Jamal wanted to represent himself but, Judge Sabo ruled that due to Mumia Abu Jamal’s interruptions, Mumi forfeited his right to represent himself.  Mumia Abui Jamal was found guilty of first degree murder and sentenced to death row.  As seen in the image, many people feel that Mumia Abu Jamal is innocent and was unjustly charged with the murder of Daniel Faulkner as a result of Mumia’s active role in the African American Community.  Article 11 of the United Declaration of Human Rights states that each person has the right to be considered innocent until proven guilty.  Unfortunately, for those arrested in America, many people think a person is guilty as soon as they are arrested instead of withholding judgement until the facts are known and both sides are heard from.  After 30 years on death row, in 2011, Mumia Abu Jamal’s saentence was commuted to life in prison without parole.  Mumia Abu Jamal continues to be an active member of the black community from his cell where Mumia has voiced his support of the Black Lives Matter Movement.  According to Article 8 of the United Declaration of Human Rights each person on trial should be treated equally between the courts and tribunals.  However, in America, people of color are often viewed differently than their white counterparts, as a result of systemic racism and the prejudices that are socially ingrained in many Americans.  Unjust laws were created to disproportionality effect the black community.  Crack cocaine, which people of color are disproportionately arrested for, carries much harsher sentences than powder cocaine which is more often used by Caucasians.  It has also become evident that in America, many police officers use unjust and sometimes deadly force against members of the African American Community, such as Feddy Grey, Eric Garner and Philando Castile.  The for-profit prison system in America profits on a daily basis from each prisoner housed in their prison.  Due to the massive profits that for-profit prisons earn from each prisoner, it is in their interests to keep the jails full, even if it is a nonviolent offender.  The American legal system, leans in the favor of the prosecution, even when the person on trial is innocent.  This is a result of the stigma that is carried with being arrested for a crime.  Many people presume a person guilty as soon as they are arrested for a crime instead of viewing the person as innocent until proven guilty.mumia

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