DOJ Civil-Rights Nominee Defeated After Police Oppose Him Over Cop Killing


The U.S. Senate today failed by a 52-47 vote to confirm Debo Adegbile, President Obama’s nominee to head the Justice Department’s civil rights division, reports the Washington Post. The action came 32 years after Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner pulled over a Volkswagen driving just after 3:50 a.m. Fallout from that famous traffic stop, which left Faulkner shot dead on the pavement and journalist and former Black Panther Mumia Abu-Jamal sentenced to death for murder, led to Adegbile’s defeat. Among those voting against him was Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV)

Since the 1981 murder, Abu-Jamal, now 59, has successfully petitioned to have his death sentence thrown out and has transformed himself into an internationally recognized political lightning rod — hailed by many as a political prisoner and a victim of a criminal justice system that discriminates by race. Others regard Abu-Jamal as a celebrity cop killer whose fame spits in the face of the nation's police officers. Adegbile, a voting rights expert and former director of the NAACP's Legal Defense Fund, was involved in a handful of the dozens of appeals and court briefs filed on behalf of Abu-Jamal. The nomination has been opposed by national law enforcement groups. Attorney General Eric Holder said after the vote, “It is a very dangerous precedent to set for the legal profession when individual lawyers can have their otherwise sterling qualifications denigrated based solely on the clients that their organizations represent.”

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