Abu-Jamal's Radio Broadcasts
a Child is Killed
1.3 MBs, 3:18
There is something
unutterably terrible about the death of a child.
seems to pitch and turn, and fall into itself when something so
unnatural as a child leaves the realm of the living. On Christmas
Eve, 2002 it happened.
than that happened.
A 12-year old
boy was shot into eternity on that date, shot by a cop who would
later claim that the boy was running from a suspected stolen car,
with his hands in his pockets (!). Putting aside, for a minute,
the absurdity of the image of one running with hands in one's pockets,
the State Police would later claim that the boy, Michael Ellerbe,
was shot because his partner had fallen, and he thought that he
The city of
Uniontown is a fair-sized town, roughly 150,000 people, and it is
the county seat of Fayette County in Southwestern Pennsylvania.
It has a Black population roughly equal to the percentage of blacks
in the nation's population, but population, standing alone, means
little if that population doesnt have real representation,
and more importantly, power.
There was a
coroners inquest into the case, but it was composed of an
all-white jury. Despite the eyewitness testimony of a young white
boy, who was looking at the shooting from his window, the jury and
the judge running the show declined to charge the cops with anything.
The witness recalled that he saw the two troopers shooting at the
boy. A few days later, the local DA would announce that she would
not charge them with anything.
In the wintry
weather of February, some 300 Uniontowners and others gathered at
the Fayette County Courthouse to protest the tragic killing, and
to demand justice.
the boys father, spoke simply and eloquently to the gathering:
"I'd like to thank particularly God who blessed each and everyone
of us to be here today. The Pennsylvania State Police shot and killed
my son and now they're trying to cover it up. I know there's love
in this world when I look out and see all of you here today."
(New Pittsburgh Courier, 2/19/03, p. A1,A2)
The family has
filed a federal lawsuit charging civil rights violations and wrongful
Some of the
marchers expressed anger that nationally known Black leaders did
not join them in their protests against the Fayette County criminal
'justice system'. Many of the big names were invited, but none showed.
the child show a boy with a sweet half-smile, a knowing glint in
his eye, and a sense of the immortality that all children seem to
delude themselves with.
the police have set forth the 'Amadou Diallo defense'; the 'I thought
my partner was hit' bit. They are allowed the old 'I- was-just-doing-my-job'
excuse, and are thus able to, quite literally, get away with the
murder of children.
A child is dead,
shot in the back by a minion of the State.
A Black child
is dead, a hole burrowed into his heart.
a boy does not live to become a teenager.
A child is gone.
to the Law, no one is to be charged for it.
A Black boy
Check out Mumia's
"Faith of Our Fathers: An Examination of the Spiritual Life
of African and African-American People" at www.africanworld.com
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© copyright 2003 by Mumia Abu-Jamal.
All rights reserved.
Reprinted by permission of the author.