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2,500 At Rally Asking New Trial For Cop Killer

About 2,500 supporters of death-row inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal held a rally Saturday around the Liberty Bell, pleading for a new trial.

Abu-Jamal, 41, convicted in the 1982 shooting death of police Officer Daniel Faulkner, has become a symbol of what supporters believe are inequities in the U.S. judicial system.

The demonstration, originally expected to draw 7,000 people, had been planned as a last-ditch effort to delay Abu-Jamal’s scheduled Aug. 17 execution. But its focus changed Monday when Common Pleas Judge Albert Sabo granted a stay.

“What you see today would have been much more serious if Mumia had not received his stay,” said Marcus Garvey Jr., whose Jamaican immigrant father started a “Back-to-Africa” movement in the United States in 1916.

Defense lawyers say Abu-Jamal, a former Black Panther organizer and radio journalist, was convicted after prosecutors and police suppressed evidence and coerced witnesses.