Episode 16 - Mueller, Mumia, and an Unarmed Woman Shot by Police

Transcript, Web links and Credits below.


Hey Everybody. It’s Friday, April 19th and on today’s episode I have three important news stories to unpack for you. Listen – everything in the news is about the Mueller report today, and I’m going to tell you what I think about it, but I have two other stories that deserve to be told and just aren’t getting any airtime because every newspaper and every news network is all about Trump 24/7.

We’re going in a different direction. We started The North Star and we started this podcast to do two things:

Tell you stories that simply aren’t being told anywhere else.

Give you a fresh perspective on stories that might be mainstream, but we’ll come at them from another angle.

So today I’ll give you my quick thoughts on the Mueller report, tell you about the news that Mumia Abu-Jamal is going to receive a new hearing in Pennsylvania, and we’ll close with a crazy case of police violence in New Haven, CT.

This is Shaun King and you are listening to (THE BREAKDOWN)


For the past 22 months, one of the most seasoned investigators in the world, Bob Mueller, a Republican I might add, who was the FBI Director for almost the entire Bush administration and most of the Obama administration, has investigated Donald Trump, his campaign, and his administration on whether or not they colluded with the Russian government to win the 2016 election as well as whether or not they obstructed justice in any investigations.

Yesterday, a heavily redacted 400-page report from that 22-month investigation was released. The report is damning. First and foremost, at the end of the report, Mueller states that he believed it was outside of his purview to file charges, but that it wasn’t outside of the purview of Congress if they read the report and believed they found corruption. Listen, the whole d—m report was 400 pages of corruption, lies, and deceit.

Literally, the report included handwritten notes from someone who was in the room when Trump first learned that Mueller was investigating him, and Trump’s actual words were, “Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my presidency. I’m f—d.”

And for the past 22 months, Trump has had a public face like he wasn’t worried, but he had every reason to worry. A dozen members of his inner circle are now in prison or on their way to prison. He knew that his life could not withstand scrutiny. Mueller said in his report that Trump refused to meet with him, and that on 30 of the answers Trump submitted via mail, he said he could not recall the answer. Mueller spoke of thousands of deleted texts and emails that they could not review. He revealed the extent of Russian interference in the election and how, within hours of Trump saying on national television, “Russia – if you’re listening” help me get Hillary Clinton’s emails, Russia was hacking the DNC and attempting, for the first time, to hack into her office, seemingly because Trump asked them to.

I think the report showed a series of impeachable offenses. And the non-impeachable offenses that are just plain ol’ unethical number in the hundreds, from virtually every member of Trump’s family and team. One that stood out was the day that Trump fired James Comey. Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told the White House press pool that they had heard from members of the FBI of how glad they were to hear that Comey had been fired.

When a member of the Press doubted her and asked her if she was being serious, Sarah Huckabee Sanders doubled down and said that they had received many emails and texts from FBI agents saying that they were glad that Comey had been fired. When asked about it under oath by Mueller, Sarah Huckabee Sanders admitted that she had made the whole thing up. It was all a lie. Now we already knew she lied for Trump, but to see it so clearly was shocking.

The dishonesty from Trump and team throughout the report is breathtaking. But my gut tells me that Democrats aren’t interested in impeachment. They have either determined that they don’t have enough support for it, or that they think it will make Trump stronger and that their best chance is to defeat him in the next election.

I disagree with that sentiment. I think they should begin impeachment proceedings immediately. I think the report is that damning, but I also think the fact that he has lied over 10,000 times since he has been in office is impeachable. I think that he ordered immigrants to be detained with children separated from their families – sometimes with the parents being deported and the children sent across the country – just for the sake of cruelty – I think that is impeachable. But that’s just me.

I could say a lot more about the Mueller report, but the truth is, you can turn on any news station or open any website to hear that. I have two other very important news stories to share with you – which takes me to the second story.

---- Music Break or DJ Scratch

Thirty-seven years ago, a popular radio show host and journalist named Mumia Abu-Jamal was sentenced to death after he was convicted of shooting and killing a Philadelphia Police Officer. From the jump, everybody who knew Mumia found the case to be strange. For years, he was a host on NPR and interviewed wide ranging guests from Bob Marley to Alex Haley to Dr. J and he was known for his calm presence and soothing style on air.

From 1982 until now, Mumia has been in prison. For this entire time, he has declared his innocence. Just a few years ago, he was removed from death row and his sentence was commuted from death to life in prison after prosecutors admitted that some unethical instructions were given at his sentencing hearing.

I’ve studied this case for years. I first learned about Mumia and his writings and his advocacy for criminal justice reforms 22 years ago when I was a student at Morehouse College. And I have to be honest – I could never determine if he was innocent or guilty. But what I do know for sure is that he didn’t receive a fair trial. I know that at the same time that he was convicted, the Philadelphia Police Department was literally dropping bombs on an organization called MOVE and that they were willfully framing people for crimes they didn’t commit. All of this has been widely documented. And that’s the problem with dirty cops and crooked prosecutors – they ruin the credibility of everything they touch.

Well, earlier this week, Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner announced that he was going to allow an appeal from Mumia and his legal team to go forward with a new set of judges after it was ruled that one of the previous judges failed to recuse himself in spite of a long history of clearly hating Mumia. And here’s all I’m saying, we need fair, impartial judges and juries for everybody – not just for the people we love – not just for the people from our community – but we need fair judges and juries and prosecutors for every person, guilty or innocent, if the system is going to actually produce justice. Mumia never got that.

That’s why we need fair judges and juries and prosecutors and defense attorneys for our friends and for our enemies.

Which leads me to my final story of the day…

Early on Tuesday morning, police officers from Yale University and Hamden, Connecticut surrounded a car they claimed was suspected of being involved with some type of robbery in a neighboring town. When the car stops, a police officer suddenly unloads his gun into the car and starts running while he continues firing backwards at the car. I’ve posted this video on my Instagram timeline for you to see, but what we’ve learned is that the police officer thought the people in the car were firing a gun at them, but it turns out that they were completely unarmed.

The gunshots that the police officer thought he heard being fired at him were just the ricochets and echoes from his own bullets hitting the car. He ended up shooting a 22-year-old Black woman named Stephanie Washington in the face, and she continues to recover in the hospital. The driver of the car was initially arrested, but police released him after determining that he too was completely unarmed.

And here’s my thing – over and over again, when American police are called to the scene of an actual mass shooting, where they often learn that the shooter has assault rifles and handguns and even explosives – somehow, those shooters are almost always apprehended without a single bullet being fired. They could’ve literally just killed dozens of kids in school or churchgoers or people praying at a synagogue or mosque or gathering at a movie and have enough guns for a small army, but somehow in those situations, police manage not to fire a single shot. But here, a woman gets shot in the face and a cop goes running for his life because he’s afraid of the sound of his own bullets.

It’s a mess. People are protesting at Yale and in New Haven, as they should be, because we’re just tired of this. It sounds crazy, but I’ve d—m near stopped believing American police need better training. They know how to do their job. It just increasingly seems like they have unending patience for some people and no patience at all for others.


Thank you all for making it all the way through this episode of The Breakdown!

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Produced by Willis Polk II

Additional Instrumentation by: Christian Idris “Idrys” Shannon, Lance "Lance Fury" Powlis & Markeith Black

Additional Engineering by Amond “AJ” Jackson for Salem Psalms Library

Additional Vocals by Garnett “Natti” Bush

Scratches by Kenny “DJ FlipFlop” Vanderberg