Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Veronica & The Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal

As told by her sister Valery Jones

Forward and Commentary by Mumia Abu Jamal

Legal Afterward by Rachael Wolkenstein

A review of the book

Much has been written about the frame-up of the prominent journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal.  The book Veronica & The Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal gives a fresh new perspective to this clear frame-up.  In order to gain an appreciation for this book, we need to look at the outlines of the life of Veronica Jones.

Veronica Jones was born and raised in Yonkers, New York.  At an early age her home was destroyed by fire and the family moved to Camden, New Jersey.  She excelled in track and had a chance to compete in the Junior Olympics. 

Veronica learned that a neighbor needed a new kidney and didn’t have the funds for the operation.  Veronica organized a fund raising drive to raise money for this operation.  She received an award for her effort to attempt to save the life of her neighbor. 

Then, at the age of thirteen she was sexually molested.  Because of this and other events, Veronica’s self esteem deteriorated.  She had three daughters by the time she was twenty.

In order to support her family, she turned to prostitution.  Unlike other prostitutes, Veronica refused to give money to a pimp.  She learned why prostitutes pay pimps when two police officers raped her and took her money.  In fact, the FBI investigated the connection between the police in Philadelphia’s 6th District and prostitution rings.

Veronica Jones reported to her sister that she was having a sexual relationship with Officer Daniel Faulkner.  Mumia Abu Jamal is serving a life sentence in prison because he was framed up for Faulkner’s murder.  Veronica also happened to be at the scene of Faulkner’s death that was caused by gunshot wounds.

Veronica reported that two police officers threatened to charge her with crimes that might have put her in prison for ten to fifteen years.  They argued that the only way for her to avoid this sentence would be to testify that Mumia Abu Jamal murdered Officer Faulkner.  They said that they had already made a similar deal with Cynthia White, who was the main prosecution witness against Mumia.  These officers also said that because of White’s testimony, the police would not harass her for being a prostitute.

Years after Mumia’s conviction Veronica testified that she lied at Mumia’s trial because police officers threatened her.  During her testimony in Philadelphia, Judge Sabo allowed police from New Jersey to arrest Veronica on charges that were 600 days old.  This confirmed the fact that when Veronica testified in a way the police did not approve of, they were fully prepared to send her to prison.  This story caused Veronica to become and ardent supporter of the cause to free Mumia Abu-Jamal.        

Veronica Jones passed away at the age of forty-eight shortly after telling her story to her sister.

Our history and a wild dream

When we look at the life story of Veronica Jones we see that the government in this country never had an interest in defending her rights as a human being.  Understanding this, we might look at her story from a different perspective.

The United States government was also completely indifferent to the needs and desires of the people of South Africa when the apartheid system was the law.  This is why the U.S. labeled the African National Congress as a terrorist organization. 

It was the Central Intelligence Agency of this country that organized the arrest of Nelson Mandela, who would serve twenty-seven years in prison.  An international movement forced the apartheid government to release Mandela.  He became the President of South Africa.

Mumia Abu Jamal was in his late twenties when the city government of Philadelphia framed him for the murder of Officer Faulkner.  Martin Luther King and Malcolm X were about thirty-nine and forty when they were assassinated.  Veronica Jones only lived to the age of forty-eight.

When we look at the case of Nelson Mandela, we can see that it is possible for someone who was once considered a fugitive, to become the President of a nation.  Perhaps this is only a dream, but the history is there and it won’t go away. 

When we look at the case of Mumia Abu Jamal as well as all the problems we face, we might keep this in mind.     

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