WASHINGTON, D.C.–President Obama recently nominated Debo Adegbile to be head of the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice. Texas Senator Ted Cruz today spoke out against the nomination and criticized Adegbile, who previously held a leadership position at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund (LDF). During his time with the black activist group, Adegbile volunteered to defend Mumia Abu-Jamal, the criminal who murdered Philadelphia cop Daniel Faulkner in 1981. Thanks to Adegbile and his colleagues, Abu-Jamal ultimately avoided the death penalty.
Despite heavy scrutiny, LDF attorneys said it was a great “honor” to represent the convicted cop killer.
On the Senate floor Tuesday afternoon, Cruz said, “Mr. President, this is insulting to law enforcement officers everywhere. I stand with the Fraternal Order of Police in opposition to Debo Adegbile.”
He stressed the fact that Adegbile took pride in defending Abu-Jamal simply because of his skin color. The LDF’s defense had nothing to do with proving innocence or guilt, Cruz argued.
Cruz said, “We all should agree that violent criminals should be punished and we all should agree that those who go out of their way to celebrate, to lionize, convicted cop killers are not suitable for major leadership roles at the Department of Justice. Under Adegbile’s supervision, LDF lawyers fanned the flames of racial tension through rallies and protests and a media campaign all to portray Mumia Abu-Jamal, an unrepentant cop killer, as a political prisoner.”
The Senator urged Republicans and Democrats alike to come out in opposition to the nomination. Already, Democrat Senator Bob Casey from Pennsylvania has spoken out against Adegbile.
The Fraternal Order of Police sent a letter to Obama in January, in which they vehemently opposed Adegbile; five other law enforcement agencies followed suit soon thereafter. In addition, Faulkner’s widow, Maureen Faulkner, launched a petition against Obama’s nomination.
During a vote scheduled for March 5, at least 51 votes are necessary in order for Adegbile to officially become the head of the Civil Rights Division.
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