By now you've probably heard the details about President Obama's nominee, Debo Adegbile, to head the Civil Rights Division inside the Department of Justice. In 2011, Adegbile voluntarily took on the case and cause of America's most notorious cop killer, Mumia Abu-Jamal, 30 years after he was convicted of murdering Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulker. Despite his radical past and voluntary support for Abu-Jamal, Obama wants him to be in charge of the DOJ division responsible for bringing cases against police officers and law enforcement agencies.
Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee will vote on his nomination. Six major law enforcement organizations representing more than one million law enforcement officers across the country have sent scathing letters to Senators and President Obama opposing Adegbile's nomination. Leaders from the organizations describe Adegbile's nomination as offensive, insulting and deeply concerning. Below are excerpts from those letters.
National Fraternal Order of Police
As world of this nomination spreads through the law enforcement community, reactions range from anger to incredulity. Under this nominee's leadership, the Legal Defense Fund (LDF) of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People volunteered their services to represent Wesley Cook, better known to the world as Mumia Abu-Jamal --- our country's most notorious cop-killer. There is no disputing that Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner was murdered by this thug. His just sentence - death - was undone by your nominee and others like him who turned the justice system on its head with unfounded and unproven allegations of racism. We are aware of the tried and true shield behind which activists of Adegbile's ilk are wont to hide - that everyone is entitled to a defense; but surely you would agree that a defense should not be based on falsely disparaging and savaging the good name and reputation of a lifeless police officer. Certainly any legal scholar can see the injustice and absence of ethics in this cynical race-baiting approach to our legal system.
This nomination can be interpreted in only one way; it is a thumb in the eye of our nation's law enforcement. It demonstrates a total lack of regard or empathy for those who strive to keep you and everyone else in our nation safe in your home and neighborhoods -- sometimes giving their lives in the effort. Standing up and fighting against racism wherever and whenever you find it is a brave and admirable endeavor; sometimes standing up against racism entails opposing and exposing cynical opportunism disguised in the name of justice. We will make every effort to point this out in our opposition to this nomination and will do everything we can to defeat it in the Senate. It is our hope, that in the future, you and your Administration will consider candidates with records of fairness and respect to all Americans when selecting nominees for leadership positions at the Justice Department or anywhere else in your administration.
Major County Sheriff's Association
Having reviewed his past engagement in legal and law enforcement related issues, we have concerns over his involvement with the Legal Defense Fund of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the fact that the organization volunteered to defend Mumia Abu-Jamal. The murder of Officer Daniel Faulkner by Mumia Abu-Jamal was in itself a tragedy, but the subsequent overturning of the death sentence he received for the murder was due to the manipulation of the justice system by the Legal Defense Fund.
More importantly, in what appears to be a consistent and purposeful pattern, MCSA was not consulted on this nomination in advance of the announcement to provide our members with the opportunity to pose questions and concerns in order to get to know the nominee. We have found this lack of consultation to be the case across the law enforcement stakeholder community and are extremely discouraged by this continual pattern of deliberate exclusion. We have participated in several meetings with Attorney General Eric Holder where he pledged to be more open and transparent about Department of Justice decisions, a pledge that is not consistent with this nomination.
National Association of Police Organizations, Inc.
On behalf of the National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO), I am writing to express our strongest possible opposition to the nomination of Debo Adegbile to be the next Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division at the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).
NAPO is deeply concerned that under Mr. Adegbile’s leadership, the Legal Defense Fund of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People volunteered their services to defend Mumia Abu-Jamal, a convicted cop- killer. Abu-Jamal was convicted of murdering Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner in 1982. Mr. Adegbile worked tirelessly to free this unrepentant cop-killer. The nominee’s efforts led to the overturning of the just sentence Abu-Jamal received for murdering a valuable member of the law enforcement community.
NAPO firmly believes Mr. Adegbile’s history makes him an inappropriate choice to lead DOJ’s Civil Rights Division, and we vehemently oppose this nomination. We urge you to reconsider the nomination, as Mr. Adegbile has not shown respect for members of law enforcement who put their lives on the line everyday to keep our nation safe.
National Narcotic Officers' Associations' Coalition
Our members, as well as many other law enforcement officers across the country, are angered and insulted by this nomination. His [Adegbile] proactive support for convicted cop killer Wesley Cook, AKA: Mumia Abu-Jamal, which included fabricating a baseless and unproven defense while also defaming the victims, Police Officer Daniel Faulkner, raises serious questions about your nominee's judgement, especially considering the important position to which he has been nominated.
Mumia Abu-Jamal was convicted of murdering Officer Faulkner, but with the help of Debo Adegbile, this case of murder was turned into a perverse case of assault against law enforcement, our constitution and our justice system. Such reprehensible conduct and poor decision making should disqualify anyone from being considered to lead the Civil Rights Division, for it is that person who will be responsible for ensuring that justice is fairly administered to all people, victims and defendants alike. The leader of the Civil Rights Division must be someone who has a record of bringing people together, not dividing and provoking them; someone who can be respectful and responsive to everyone, not just those whom they represent or support.
National Sheriffs' Association
We have serious concerns regarding Mr. Adegbile’s past leadership at the Legal Defense Fund (LDF) of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, specifically LDF’s controversial defense strategies in the representation of Mumia Abu-Jamal for the 1981 slaying of Philadelphia Police Office Daniel Faulkner.New Jersey State Policemen's Benevolent Association
Furthermore, the Administration has continued its pattern of ignoring the law enforcement community when considering issues that directly impact us. Notwithstanding pledges by Attorney General Eric Holder to be more open and transparent regarding Department of Justice decisions, neither NSA nor any other law enforcement organization of which we are aware was consulted regarding this nomination. It is tremendously disappointing that the Administration would continue to exclude a community that works each and every day to keep our citizens and our communities safe.
Accordingly, the National Sheriffs’ Association strongly opposes the nomination of Mr. Adegbile to lead the Civil Rights Division at the U.S. Department of Justice. Moreover, we again urge you to include the law enforcement community in the Administration’s deliberations regarding decisions at the Department of Justice.
Mr. Adegbile's activism and defense of convicted cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal makes him an inappropriate and offensive choice to join the office of the Attorney General in such a high profile and important position. Mumia Abu-Jamal murdered Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner in 1982 (his conviction has been repeatedly upheld on appeal) and his horrific actions have left a scar on Philadelphia and the law enforcement community throughout New Hersey and the nation ever since. There are few cold blooded killers who yield as much disgust amongst law enforcement officers as Mumia Abu-Jamal and Mr. Adegbile's efforts to overturn his sentence disparages the memory of Officer Faulkner.