The echo from the shots which rang out some twenty-six years ago near the intersection of Locust Street and 12th Street in Philadelphia can still be heard today. In fact, on Sunday, March 18th they will be especially loud. Exactly 85.9 miles from the spot where Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner fell, masses will be gathering and preparing to march in the Newark St. Patrick's Day Parade. However, for the first time in many years a deeply entrenched tradition will be broken: there will be no police officers among the participants. To serve as this year's parade honoree, organizers chose Congressman Donald Payne. This choice drew the ire of New Jersey law enforcement (read our editorial) and Philadelphia law enforcement as well.
Last December, Congressman Payne voted against a Resolution condemning a city in France for naming a street after Mumia Abu Jamal, the street animal who murdered Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner. In response, the New Jersey State FOP formally objected and requested parade organizers to reconsider their choice. (Read FOP President Edward R. Brannigan's letter) Organizers stuck by their decision. Then, in an incredible statement of solidarity and unfading memory, Newark officers announced they will not be marching. None of these officers even knew Daniel Faulkner, and many weren't even yet born when he was killed. We find it absolutely awe inspiring that such allegiance still flows through our ranks. It gets better. The relationship between police officers and firefighters can best be compared to that between two brothers. They sometimes fight, but they're always there for each other when needed. Well, the firefighters have once again proven themselves to be loyal and caring brothers. It was announced yesterday that they too would be boycotting the parade. Cheers to you, New Jersey's bravest. True class.
Whether anyone else skips this year's parade remains to be seen, but, honestly, who cares. It's already been shown that a 25-year-old policeman who was brutally murdered a quarter century ago has not been forgotten by his fellow knights. What a statement. Since this episode began, Congressman Payne has clarified the reasoning for his vote and distanced himself from the pro-Mumia crowd which we're glad to see. From the Friday Star Ledger: "First, the measure injected Congress into a matter still pending in the justice system," Payne wrote in a letter published Friday in The Star-Ledger of Newark. "We would also be setting a poor precedent by involving Congress in the affairs of a French town and urging the French government to take action against a town for the naming of a street."
Yes, the matter is still pending further appeal, but it's been twenty-six years since Officer Faulkner's murder. When will it be enough time? As far as France, her government and citizenry have never had a problem criticizing America and Americans. With this said, emotions need to be kept in check. Congressman Payne is not Abu-Jamal, and he had nothing to do with Officer Daniel Faulkner's murder. 368 other members of congress saw the Resolution as an opportunity to unite behind a fallen police officer, and we're disappointed that 31 members didn't see it that way no matter what the reasoning. It's been twenty-six years since his murder, and people are still learning the name Daniel Faulkner every day. This day is no different. Justice for Daniel Faulkner.