Skip to Content

Senator and Police Union Use a Widow's False Memory to Stir Up Hatred for Imprisoned Man and for Obama Nominee

Powerful story, but not a true one

Whether she genuinely believes that this impossible "smile" incident actually happened, or is making it up, though, Sen. Pat Toomey, who doesn't have any excuse, made full use of the false story in a speech on the Senate Floor condemning Obama's nominee Debo Adegbile to head the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division -- even embellishing on it by saying Abu-Jamal had "smirked" at Faulkner, when her original newspaper account had her saying he had "smiled."

But then, why should a senator ruin a good yarn by sticking to the actual quote?

Toomey repeated this bogus story, again using his embellishment of "smirk," in an op-ed article that ran this past Monday in the Philadelphia Inquirer,calling -- successfully as it turns out -- for his Senate colleagues to reject Adegbile's nomination.

Although the Inquirer favorably reviewed my book in 2004, with the book critic Steven Weinberg calling it "the most thorough book yet by an author without direct involvement in the murder case,” the paper's editors didn't bother to even minimally fact-check the Senator by verifying his claims. Instead, they let his lie about the shirt run, along with a number of other falsehoods he added in, such as that Abu-Jamal had shot the officer on the ground four times. The truth is that whoever shot Faulkner, he was only hit by two bullets, one to the lower back, and one to the forehead. This is a critical fact which, as I and my colleague Linn Washington show -- in a video which can be viewed at the bottom of this page -- fatally undermines the veracity of the prosecution's only purported "eye witnesses" to the shooting, who are caught describing a scene that, like this one of Faulkner's, could not have happened either.

Worse than Toomey, who clearly is simply playing the political role his party expects of him, namely to try and embarrass and further undermine the weakened and increasingly unpopular President Obama by getting his nominee rejected, and who probably couldn't care less about Faulkner's pain, is Sen. Bob Casey. A Democrat and the state's senior Senator, he cited her story as the reason for his voting with Senate Republicans to reject the eminently worthy Adegbile for the Justice Department post. Casey's abject fawning before his state's rabid FOP lobby is simply a pathetic embarrassment. Unlike businessman Toomey, who can at least claim ignorance about the law and the Constitutional right to a fair trial, Casey is a lawyer, and as such well knows that it is the duty of lawyers to defend those who may have been denied a fair trial or appeal. As a lawyer, he also well knows that, as my colleague >a href="http://www.thiscantbehappening.net/node/2173">Linn Washington writes above, Adegbile had no role in developing the actual argument that led three levels of the federal courts to find Abu-Jamal's death sentence to have been unconstitutional and properly overturned.

Senator Toomey, in this sordid sabatoging of a (for Obama!) surprisingly excellent nomination for a Justice Department post, is just playing the expected role of a smarmy low-wattage political hack and hit-man. Sen. Casey is displaying something worse -- a spineless lack of principle.



story | by Dr. Radut