At the CFT’s 2011 Convention in late March, the delegates passed 30 resolutions, from solidifying support for anti-bullying legislation to supporting transitional kindergarten. Among the resolutions largely pertaining to education and collective bargaining rights was Resolution 19 – to “Reaffirm support for death row journalist.”
“Therefore, be it resolved, that the California Federation of Teachers reaffirm its support and demand that the courts consider the evidence of innocence of Mumia Abu-Jamal,” the Committee Report reads.
Mumia Abu-Jamal was a former member of the Black Panthers who was found guilty of murdering Philadelphia police officer Daniel J. Faulkner during a routine traffic stop in 1981. Abu-Jamal was subsequently sentenced to death.
His supporters, such as the California Federation of Teachers, argue that his trial was unfair and that he is a civil rights hero.
“Mumia Abu-Jamal has for decades as a journalist fought courageously against racism and police brutality and for the human rights of all people and has taken strong stands in support of working people involved in labor struggles and in support of well-funded, quality, public education,” the resolution reads.
Daniel Flynn, author of “Cop killer: How Mumia Abu-Jamal conned millions into believing he was framed” told The Daily Caller that Abu-Jamal was the poster-child for ending the death penalty…20 – 30 years ago.
“Somebody should tell the California Teachers Federation that this is over, he is in jail, he is going to stay there,” Flynn said. “You have numerous eyewitnesses saying Mumia did it. You had ballistic evidence – Mumia’s gun at the scene was consistent with the bullet used to kill Faulkner. Mumia admitted after the fact that he did it.”
Fred Glass, CFT spokesman, told TheDC that the even though the case is 30 years old, since Abu-Jamal is still going through appeals, the issue remains relevant.
“The delegates decided it was time to reiterate that they supported him due to the irregularities that they felt had taken place during his case,” said Glass. “They see this as a civil liberties issue, it is quite common for the CFT to take positions on broad social matters like this.”
American Federation of Teachers (AFT) spokesman Tom Lansworth, said that this is an issue the national union has never before considered, however, it likely will appear before the AFT at their next convention.
“It appears that one of the intents of the California resolution is to present this issue to the next AFT convention, which will be next year. Our national convention is held every two years. So the California action is part of the normal process of proposing resolutions for debate by the national convention. This does not appear to be an issue that we have acted on before,” he told TheDC, adding he had no idea whether the AFT would adopt the resolution.
Either way, Flynn sees the action as the CFT showing their liberal stripes.
“The California Federation of Teachers is reacting to that long tradition on the left that takes murders and makes heroes out of them,” said Flynn.