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Tuesday, 2 November, 1999, 16:03 GMT
Police plan Sting protest
Sting and wife Trudie Styler
Sting and wife Trudie Styler are both on a US police protest list
Police in the US state of Pennsylvania are calling for a protest at a Sting concert later this month because of the singer's support for a death-row inmate.

The Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 27 plans to call on officers to demonstrate on 14 November when Sting is due to play Philadelphia's Tower Theatre, said the organisation's president Joseph Fitzgerald.

Cause celebre Mumia Abu-Jamal
On death row: Mumia Abu-Jamal
The lodge, part of America's largest police group, represents at least 900 retired and active Delaware County officers.

The Philadelphia date is part of the former Police singer's tour to promote his new album, Brand New Day.

A former radio journalist and Black Panther, Mumia Abu-Jamal was convicted in 1982 of killing a Philadelphia police officer.

Abu-Jamal's supporters have argued that procedural errors, witness tampering and racial bias tainted the original trial.

Last month US District Judge William Yohn Jr granted Abu-Jamal a stay of execution - 13 days after Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge signed a second death warrant.

Chumbawanba performing
Support for Mumia Abu-Jamal: British band Chumbawamba
Abu-Jamal's death sentence has become a cause celebre for anti-capital punishment groups around the world.

The Fraternal Order of Police has also targeted other artists.

Its boycott list includes UK group Chumbawamba, REM's Michael Stipe, David Byrne, Harry Belafonte, Bobby McFerrin and Sting's wife, actress Trudie Styler.

The list is largely culled from signatures in two letters published in the New York Times in August 1995 and October 1998 supporting Abu-Jamal.

Last January a controversial benefit show was held at the Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, New Jersey, headlined by Rage Against the Machine and the Beastie Boys.

FOPL national president Gilbert G Gallegos said Abu-Jamal is a "murderer, not a celebrity".

He added: "Since his conviction, Abu-Jamal has assembled an impressive array of celebrity spokespersons, cynically directing them to raise money for him, stage benefit concerts on his behalf and repeat false and misleading information about his trial and conviction in a concerted effort to avoid his just sentence."

See also:

19 Sep 99 | Entertainment
Sting hits millennium high note
10 Oct 99 | Entertainment
Global audience for Net fundraiser
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