President Barack Obama has made a controversial pick to head the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.
While working at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Debo Adegbile worked on voting rights cases, including representing evacuees from Hurricane Katrina in a federal voting rights lawsuit.
But it’s his work on appeals for Mumia Abu-Jamal, in which he fought successfully to keep his client from receiving a death sentence, that has drawn fire from some in the Philadelphia area.
Adegbile, a civil rights lawyer, argued against the execution of Abu-Jamal, who is now serving life in prison for the murder of Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner. Adegbile argued that the jury selection for Abu-Jamal was tainted by racial discrimination.
Eugene Blagmond, with the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge in Philadelphia, is upset Adegbile’s nomination for the federal post.
“It’s insulting to all men and women in law enforcement. This is a person who defended Mumia Abu-Jamal, a man who killed a police officer in cold blood,” Biagmond said.
In a written statement, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund defended Adegbile as someone who has “has worked tirelessly to ensure that our nation lives up to its promise of equality for all Americans.”