Following a fierce morning demonstration outside the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia, International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement, People’s Organization for Progress and Uhuru Solidarity Movement members attended the trial of Shabaka Mnombatha (aka Franklin Moses), 1 of 2 members of InPDUM facing charges stemming from the police attack inside City Council chambers on March 19, 2009.
9 Months of protests, struggle, hearings, judges recusing themselves from the case and various legal delays led up to Shabaka’s trial on 2 misdemeanor charges of “disorderly conduct” and “resisting arrest.” Shabaka’s representation was to be a public defender, but activist attorney Michael Coard, who is also representing InPDUM Philadelphia leadership Diop Olugbala in his case, came in to replace the PD and made an impressive case for Shabaka’s innocence, exposing the inconsistencies in the stories of the 3 Civil Affairs police officers who testified for the State. Coard used his incredible skills as a defense attorney to expose that it would be impossible to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that Shabaka resisted arrest or was disorderly in expressing his Constitutional right to free speech while protesting the city budget in City Council on March 19th, 2009.
However, Judge Joseph Waters immediately returned a “guilty” verdict, having shown his allegiance to the State from the beginning and following through to the end, convicting Shabaka of the 2 misdemeanor charges. But Coard summed the day up as a victory: “We won, because we didn’t have to call up any witnesses, and we let the cops expose themselves.” An appeal has already been filed, and the movement will reconvene outside the CJC for a demonstration on the morning of February 10th, 2010 for Diop’s trial. Diop is facing the misdemeanor charges as well as a felony “aggravated assault” charge that was reinstated after being initially dropped by the first judge.
For more information contact Uhuru Solidarity Movement at 215-387-0919 or firstname.lastname@example.org.