Police To Protest Sting Over Mumia Support

Sting may be a former member of The Police, but that isn’t helping out his status with cops who are planning to protest his November 14 concert at the Tower Theatre in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania.

The singer is a vocal supporter of Mumia Abu-Jamal, the Philadelphia radio journalist and activist sentenced to die for the 1981 murder of police officer Daniel Faulkner.

In response to Sting’s support of Mumia, the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 27, which represents at least 900 retired and active Delaware County police officers, plans to call on officers from around southeastern Pennsylvania to protest the concert, according to the Associated Press.

Mumia (an outspoken member of the Black Panthers and MOVE as well as a radio journalist) was convicted in 1982 of the shooting death of Faulkner, a Philadelphia police officer. Mumia and his legal team claim that the conviction was the result of an unfair and unconstitutional trial and have been fighting to overturn the
conviction for the last seven years.

Last month, however, Mumia’s latest appeal was turned down, allowing Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge to set an execution date of December 2 (see “Rage’s Zack Sounds Off On Mumia Legal Setback” ).

Since then, Federal Judge William H. Yohn, Jr. granted a stay of execution for Mumia after being presented with a habeas corpus petition that was filed on October 15 by the defendant’s lawyers, containing 29 separate issues of Constitutional violations that occurred in Jamal’s trial and appeal. Jamal now awaits further proceedings before Judge Yohn.

The planned protest at Sting’s concert isn’t the first time controversy has surrounded a show being held by a supporter of Mumia. In January, Rage Against The Machine, the Beastie Boys, Bad Religion, and Black Star performed a benefit concert at the Continental Airlines Arena in New Jersey to raise funds for Mumia’s federal appeal. That show was
protested by local police, government officials, and even the venue’s organizers (see “The Show Goes On: Rage Against The Machine, Beasties Mix Music, Politics At Benefit” ).

However, while that concert had a decidedly political bent, Sting’s upcoming show is not being held in conjunction with any kind of benefit or cause.

For more about the Mumia case, see “Weeding Through The Rhetoric: What’s The Rage/Beastie’s Benefit About?”