Skip to Content

Exclusive! New Test Shows Key Witnesses Lied at Abu-Jamal Trial; Sidewalk Murder Scene Should Have Displayed Bullet Impacts

    There are, moreover, other good reasons to doubt that White and Chobert were telling the truth, or even that either one of them was actually a witness to the shooting.

    Chobert claimed at trial to have pulled his taxi up directly behind Officer Faulkner’s squad car, which itself was parked directly behind the Volkswagen Beetle owned by Abu-Jamal’s younger brother William Cook, whom Faulkner had supposedly stopped for a traffic violation. Though the trial judge, Albert Sabo, withheld this information from the jury, Chobert at the time of the shooting admitted to the court that he was driving his cab illegally on a license that had been suspended following a DUI conviction. He was also serving five year’s probation for the crime of felony arson of an elementary school. Under such circumstances, one has to ask if such a driver would have deliberately parked his cab behind a police vehicle, where there was a risk he could have been questioned, arrested by the officer, and possibly even jailed for violating conditions of his probation.

    In any event, there also are no crime-scene photos that depict a taxi parked behind Faulkner’s squad car. Indeed, the official police crime photos, as well as those taken even earlier by Polokoff, show no taxi behind Faulkner’s car. Chobert’s cab’s absence from crime scene photos raises an inescapable issue: either Chobert did not park behind Faulkner’s patrol car as he claimed in sworn trial testimony, or police removed his car less than 20 minutes after arriving on the scene and before investigators and a department photographer had gotten action constituting illegal tampering with the crime scene.

There is no taxi behind the squad car in any photo of the crime scene from the morning of Dec. 9, 1981There is no taxi behind the squad car in any photo of the crime scene from the morning of Dec. 9, 1981

Further raising questions about whether Chobert was actually where he claimed to have been during the shooting, a diagram of the crime scene drawn by Cynthia White, plus a second one drawn by a police artist following her instructions, show no taxi, though they do show, in front of Cook’s VW, the extraneous detail of a Ford sedan that played no role at all in the case. No other witness at the trial except for White ever testified to having seen Chobert’s taxi. Furthermore, if Chobert had witnessed the shooting while sitting at the wheel of his cab behind Faulkner’s squad car, as he testified, his view of the shooting, which took place on the sidewalk on the driver’s side of the parked cars, would have been blocked by both Faulkner’s and Cook’s parked vehicles. Making his alleged view even more problematic, it was dark at the time, Faulkner’s tail lights were on, and his glare-producing dome lights were flashing brightly.

story | by Dr. Radut