"Those who don't know history are destined to repeat it."
Edmund Burke. What happened on this Day in History?
Wednesday, December 9, 2015
This Day in Crime History: DECEMBER 09, 1981 : POLICEMAN DANIEL FAULKNER FOUND DEAD
Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner is found dead on the street with Mumia Abu-Jamal, a well-known activist and freelance journalist, lying severely wounded nearby. In 1982, Abu-Jamal was tried for and convicted of Faulkner’s murder, but because of the murky circumstances surrounding the incident and a trial that many believe was unfair, activists have since protested Abu-Jamal’s imprisonment.
Reportedly, Abu-Jamal, a journalist who had been fired by National Public Radio for his outspokenness, was driving a cab at around 4 a.m., when he saw his brother engaged in an altercation with Faulkner on the street. Evidence used in the trial suggested that Abu-Jamal intervened with a gun and then exchanged shots with Faulkner.
From the beginning, many felt Abu-Jamal’s trial was unfair. Despite the fact that he was critically wounded, the trial began just six months after the shooting, on June 17, 1982. It lasted until July 3, butAbu-Jamal was so weak that he couldn’t attend much of it. The prosecution used its peremptory challenges to limit the jury to two blacks, with 10 white members, and someobservers felt that Judge Albert Sabo was biased against the defendant.Abu-Jamal asked to represent himself and was nominally allowed todo so, though he was forced to retain a court-appointed attorney as “back-up counsel” and was excluded from the voir dire because the court claimedhis questions to the jurors were intimidating.
When the trial ended, Abu-Jamal was sentenced to death for first-degree murder. Many believed that although there was a possibility that Abu-Jamal was involved in Faulkner’s death, the sentence was overly harsh. While in prison, Abu-Jamal has written several books and made many radio appearances advocating an end to racism. He has also lobbied for a new trial.
Pressure to release Abu-Jamal from his impending execution has become stronger over time, despite the fact that some people firmly maintain he is guilty. The New Jersey governor, several police organizations and Faulkner’s widow protested a January 1999 “Free Mumia” benefit concert featuring Rage Against the Machine in New Jersey.
(4) Mumia’s car (5) Scanlan’s car (Short Arrow at 1234 Locust) The trajectory of the bullet inside the vestibule (Long Arrow From 4) Mumia’s direction approaching the scene. Note that Mumia’s direction is in contradiction to the bullet trajectory and the fragments found in the wall. Officer Faulkner was more likely shot in the back by someone standing on the curb next to Billy Cook’s car (2), with the bullet traveling North, away from 1234 Locust, after exiting Officer Faulkner’s body.
(1) Ford parked in front of VW (2) Billy Cook’s VW (3) Faulkner’s police squad car The “X”-Marks, From Left to Right: X entry location of bullet fragment found inside the vestibule of 1234 Locust X copper bullet jacket on sidewalk X whole bullet found in frame of entrance door X 7 very small lead fragments found in lower wall
Myths About Mumia
“Myths About Mumia” exist to debunk the dishonest propaganda that is circulated by Mumia Abu-Jamal’s lawyers and supporters. The goal of this propaganda is to dupe others, primarily young people, into believing that Jamal is an innocent man who didn’t receive a fair trial. Our list of “myths” was compiled from various printed materials distributed by Jamal’s adherents, from books and articles written by Jamal’s attorneys, and legal briefs that have been filed on Jamal’s behalf.
The jury that convicted Mumia Abu-Jamal was racially stacked against him by the prosecutor, who used eleven of his peremptory challenges to exclude qualified black jurors, solely because they were black.
The ballistics evidence used to convict Mumia Abu-Jamal was flawed. The police failed to test Jamal’s hands to see if he had recently fired a gun and they never “sniffed” Jamal’s gun to see if it had been fired.