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Mumia Abu-Jamal, Convicted Police Killer Who Was On Death Row, Speaks At University Graduation Ceremony

06/10/2014 16:16 BST | Updated 06/10/2014 16:59 BST

Hackles have been raised after a convicted murderer who was once on death row spoke at a university graduation ceremony in the US.

Mumia Abu-Jamal was sentenced to life for shooting dead a police officer in Philadelphia in 1981 but spoke to students graduating from Goddard College in Vermont on Sunday, encouraging them to make the world better.

Abu-Jamal, who studied at the college and earnt a degree from there in 1996, told students via video link: "Think about the myriad of problems that beset this land and strive to make it better.

"Goddard reawakened in me my love of learning. In my mind, I left death row."

The former member of the Black Panther Party was sentenced to death for killing white policeman Daniel Faulkner, but had his sentenced reduced to life in 2012.

His claims that he's been victimised by a racist justice system have attracted international support, and a radio show, documentaries and books have helped publicise his case.

Abu-Jamal was specifically chosen to speak at the event by the university's students, but his speech has attracted some hostility from local police officers.

The Vermont Troopers' Association said Tuesday that including Abu-Jamal in the commencement shows "an absolute disregard" for Faulkner's family.

"While our nation is searching for solutions to gun violence in our schools and communities, we are outraged that Goddard College is hosting a man who shot and killed a police officer," the group in a written statement.

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