Philly court doublecrosses the people as City Hall 2 struggle intensifies!

When International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement (InPDUM) International Organizer Diop Olugbala (Wali Rahman) and member Shabaka Mnombatha (Franklin Moses), also known as the Philly City Hall 2, walked out of the Philadelphia Criminal Justice Center on April 28 they thought the hardest part of the struggle around their case was behind them. During their preliminary hearing, renowned activist-attorney Michael Coard stepped into the case and exposed the lies that the State were trying to use to cover up their attack on these two brothers. It was in this same hearing where Judge Theresa Carr Deni ruled that the felony assault charges were not valid and threw them out.

InPDUM and the African community summed this up as a victory and prepared for the then scheduled trial on June 18th, confident they would beat the remaining misdemeanor charges, adding one more chapter to InPDUM’s illustrious history of struggle and victory.

However, on May 29 all of that changed, when comrade Diop received a call from Attorney Coard, who informed him of the City’s latest attempt to send him to prison.

Background of the Case

The case of the City Hall 2 began on Thursday, March 19, 2009, when police attacked two InPDUM organizers during the City Council meeting featuring Mayor Michael Nutter and his introduction of the highly controversial 2010 city budget. During this process, InPDUM members were holding signs protesting Mayor Nutter’s current budget that spends more than $1 billion a year for police and prisons, which attack the black community. Subsequent to the police attack, brothers Diop and Shabaka were brutally arrested and were hit with a list of charges, including aggravated assault on police!

InPDUM is a grassroots organization that fights for self determination for African people around the world. In Philadelphia, InPDUM has been leading serious struggles against the neo-colonial (white power in black face) City Hall administration of Michael Nutter. Much of the struggle has revolved around the question of the City budget, which Nutter has been using to further exploit and oppress the African community with the investment of more than one billion dollars ($1.1 billion to be exact) towards police and prisons.

InPDUM’s most recent act of self defense against the City of Philadelphia included a protracted struggle to hold accountable the heads of its criminal government — Mayor Michael Nutter, Chief Charles Ramsey and then District Attorney Lynn Abraham. This struggle has resulted in InPDUM holding a tribunal (court) for reparations to African people where Nutter, Ramsey and Abraham were put on trial for crimes of genocide being committed against African people by their respective offices. Comrade Diop Olugbala physically served a subpoena to these criminals (Nutter and Ramsey) to appear at the tribunal during a town hall meeting organized by Nutter at Ben Franklin High School on December 10, 2008.

Since the Tribunal, InPDUM has been waging relentless struggle to have the demands of the People’s Sentence carried out. Most important is the demand for reparations to the African community and a budget that genuinely serves the interests of the African working class. As Diop and Shabaka held up signs expressing these demands, they were attacked by police and arrested, an event that revealed the State’s real role in the City of Philadelphia.

Indeed, this just further exposed what we already knew: the State — of which the DA, the courts and police are a part — has no interest in truth, justice, freedom of speech or any other virtue that U.S. imperialism claims to uphold. Law and order is not the question. In fact, as shown in this case, when “the law” undermines white power’s ability to oppress and exploit the African community, the State will disregard the law.

Through the case of the City Hall 2 and others like it, we see that the only function of the State is to maintain the status quo, to contain and silence any form of resistance in the African community against the oppressive conditions it imposes on us as it has, and continues to do to the City Hall 2, Ajamu Bandele and the African working class as a whole.

Refusal to see Diop free forces state to defy its own law

The State was not counting on the same resistance it was met with in the form of InPDUM’s organizers to also come in the form of its allies like Michael Coard. So when Coard sent the State’s agents licking their wounds at the April 28 hearing, the DA was determined to regroup and devise another strategy to lock Diop up on felony charges.

This was the basis for the letter that Diop received in the mail from the DA’s office, announcing that the previously scheduled trial date on Thursday, June 18 was mysteriously being moved to Tuesday, June 16. However, it was only until Attorney Michael Coard called Diop to explain the current situation that the implications truly became clear.
It is important to note that the State is only moving on Diop in this way and not Shabaka. This attack is clearly a political question. The fact is that the State is focusing in on Diop because he is InPDUM’s International Organizer, responsible for leading up work not only in Philly but elsewhere throughout the world. To take him off the streets would be a strategic blow for imperialism against the revolution.

The June 16 hearing is a component of the State’s strategy to accomplish this goal. It is a proceeding wherein an Assistant District Attorney will attempt to persuade a Common Pleas Court judge to reverse the Municipal Court judge’s April 28 preliminary hearing ruling that discharged the one felony (Aggravated Assault) and two of the four misdemeanors (Simple Assault and Recklessly Endangering Another Person).

Some might characterize the June 16 hearing as a type of “appeal” or “reconsideration request” wherein an Assistant District Attorney will argue that the preliminary hearing judge should have held Diop and Shabaka for trial on all five charges, not just the misdemeanor Disorderly Conduct and Resisting Arrest charges. But the reality is that the upcoming hearing is just a tactic through which the State can reassign a judge to the case that will rule in its favor.

It is unlikely that any witnesses will be called to testify on June 16. Usually, a Common Pleas Court judge will simply read the preliminary hearing transcript (also known as the notes of testimony) and then listen to legal arguments from the Assistant District Attorney and the defense attorney. In this case, the “judge” is Frank Palumbo who is notorious and was once referred to in Reader’s Digest magazine as “One of America’s Worst Judges.” Palumbo has had formal misconduct charges filed against him by the Commission on Judicial Disabilities for a series of lapses in his handling of protective orders. And in January 2008 Palumbo dismissed charges against 2 Philly cops who brutalized 2 young Africans.

The fact that the Philadelphia Municipal Court Rules of Criminal Procedure as well as the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure both allow the District Attorney’s Office to take such action, just as they allow a defense attorney to take similar action if a preliminary hearing judge erroneously ruled against a defendant, is evidence of the criminal enterprise that is the court system of Pennsylvania and the entire U.S.

If justice is to be won for the City Hall 2 or any political prisoner, we must build InPDUM, a revolutionary mass organization armed with a Revolutionary National Democratic Program that speaks to the aspirations of the entire colonized African nation. Only then can the masses of African people mobilize in the correct fashion: to take power from the gangsters and thugs who control the State, whether they occupy City Hall or the White House!

InPDUM is prepared for struggle. We were built for struggle. We are calling on all freedom loving people to unite with the struggle to defend Comrade Diop and Shabaka.

What you can do

  • Join InPDUM
  • Call in Monday, June 15 to Judge Frank Palumbo’s office at 215-683-7044.

    In your call or message state,
    “I am calling to voice my complete disapproval of the attempt being made by the DA’s office to charge Diop Olugbala, also known as Wali Rahman, with the felony charge of aggravated assault. I unite with demand for the immediate dropping of all charges against Wali Rahman and Franklin Moses and that the police officers involved in their attack be immediately fired.”

  • Attend the hearing on Tuesday, June 16 at the Philadelphia Criminal Justice Center, Room 504 at 9:00am. We are calling on all the supporters to meet at 9:00AM in front of the CJC (13th and Filbert) to participate in the press conference.
  • Make a financial contribution to the City Hall 2 Legal Defense Fund.

    > Donate online

    Or send checks and money orders made out to “InPDUM CH2” to:
    InPDUM
    1245 18th Ave South
    St Petersburg, FL 33705

For more information call: 215-459-7551 or email info@inpdum.org

Hands off the City Hall 2!
Jail the Killer Cops, the DA and the Mayor!
They Say Cutback We Say Payback!

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