Rally held outside Department of Justice followed by march through Downtown DC and civil disobedience arrests at White House
VOICEOVER: On Tuesday, April 24th, hundreds of demonstrators rallied at the Department of Justice in downtown Washington, demanding the immediate release of Mumia Abu Jamal, considered by many to be a prominent black political prisoner, as well as calling for an end to mass incarceration in the United States. Mumia was convicted in the 1981 shooting death of a Philadelphia police officer and sentenced to death row in 1982. Mumia and many others have maintained his innocence, suggesting he was set up by a Philadelphia police force that was already under federal investigation for corruption and widespread civil rights violations, with 15 of the 35 officers involved in the evidence collection in Mumiaâ€
JOHANNA FERNANDEZ, PROFESSOR OF HISTORY, BARUCH COLLEGE, CUNY: We are here to say that incarceration has nothing to do with solving the problems of American society it has everything to do with putting people in their place repressing people and itâ€
VOICEOVER: Mumia Abu Jamal was removed from death row in 2011 following a number of court appeals, but remains imprisoned for life without the possibility of parole. A number of performers also participated in Tuesdayâ€
M1, DEAD PREZ: Behind me on the wall it says this place is a place of hallowed justice, it should say this is a place of hollow justice, thereâ€
VOICEOVER: Malik Rhasaan is the founder of Occupy the Hood, a grassroots organization started shortly after the inception of Occupy Wall Street that seeks to bring attention to the social pressures facing black and Latino communities. Malik explains how recent high profile cases like the shooting death of Trayvon Martin and the emerging Occupy Movement have broadened the discussion of everyday issues facing black communities that they have been organizing around for decades.
MALIK RHASAAN, OCCUPY THE HOOD: A lot of people said the Mumia case is broader the Trayvon case is broader the Ramarley Graham case is broader, itâ€
VOICEOVER: After the Department of Justice headquarters rally, protestors marched through the streets of downtown before arriving to the White House, where 2 dozen activists were arrested in an act of civil disobedience. Activists are organizing a project they are calling the â€œLiberation Summer,â€ which aims to mobilize around issues of criminalization and mass incarceration affecting poor communities of color and immigrants.