Brown University said on Wednesday that it will now feature in its library a trove of artwork and documents from a cop-killing Black Panther serving a life sentence without parole.
The university announced it had purchased the papers of Mumia Abu-Jamal for its "Voices of Mass Incarceration" series. Abu-Jamal in 1981 shot and killed Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner while Faulkner was arresting Abu-Jamal's brother. He was convicted the following year and sentenced to death, though prosecutors dropped the death penalty case in 2011.
A Brown spokesman directed the Washington Free Beacon to the university's press release when reached for comment.
The Abu-Jamal collection includes more than 60 boxes of documents chronicling his trial and imprisonment, which "gained him global recognition as a face of the movement against the death penalty," according to the Associated Press. Brown will not disclose the purchase price of the collection. Johanna Fernández, a 1993 alumna who advocated for years on behalf of Abu-Jamal, contributed additional correspondences.
"His is one distinct voice that, like more than two million nameless others, must be studied by future generations that wish to wrap their heads around the Goliath that is America's prison industrial complex," Fernández said.
Abu-Jamal has maintained his innocence, but witness testimony corroborated that he murdered Faulkner. While working as a taxi driver, Abu-Jamal saw the officer pull over his brother, William Cook. Abu-Jamal approached the stopped cars, drew his weapon, and shot five times. Faulkner died at the scene from a head wound.
"I shot that motherfucker, and I hope he dies," witnesses reported Abu-Jamal saying at the time.
In January, Abu-Jamal appealed his murder conviction to District Attorney Larry Krasner (D.), Philadelphia's progressive prosecutor. Abu-Jamal alleged evidence discrediting witnesses had been withheld during his trial and that the prosecutors had sought an all-white jury. Faulkner's widow, Maureen Faulkner, has filed a petition to disqualify Krasner's office from taking up the case again. The liberal billionaire George Soros donated millions to Krasner's campaign in 2017.
As a journalist, Abu-Jamal covered the black commune MOVE's violent shootout with Philadelphia police in 1978. Nine MOVE members were convicted of killing a police officer during the firefight.
Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #5 president John McNesby told the Free Beacon that Brown was conducting a "publicity stunt" in purchasing the records, which "only revictimizes Maureen and the entire Faulkner family."
"It's unconscionable that not one person from the university reached out to Maureen prior to this announcement," McNesby said. "Convicted cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal should remain in prison for the rest of his life."
Update Aug. 31, 11:14 a.m.: After publication of this story, Brown University spokesman Brian Clark said the library has no plans to "display" the collection.