Thursday, December 10, 2009

In Honor of Officer Faulkner


AT 3:51 IN THE morning on Dec. 9, 1981, the urgent call went out over the police radio.
"All units, assist the officer . . . 1234 Locust Street."

Approximately a minute later, officers from the 6th District found fellow officer Daniel Faulkner, all of 25 years old, face up on the pavement, blood streaming onto the ground from a hole in his back and in his head.

"Notify them he's been shot in the face," another voice somberly reported over the police radio.

Responding officers didn't just find Faulkner lying dead on the ground. They found Billy Cook, hands in the air, exclaiming, "I ain't got nothin' to do with it!"

They also found Cook's brother, Wesley, known as Mumia Abu-Jamal, with a revolver lying beside him - and a bullet from Faulkner's gun in his chest.

It was quite a scene at 13th and Locust 28 years ago yesterday.

The sidewalk where Faulkner was killed has long been cleansed of his blood, and a plaque commemorating his service rests where he fell, proclaiming the unfairness of his early loss to every pedestrian who passes by.

But what was, on Dec. 9, 1981, another simple, tragic cop-killing, made all the more simple by the fact that the bullet from Faulkner's gun identified his assassin clearer than any lineup or witness ever could, slowly built momentum until it turned into the biggest international craze since the Beatles. Only Mumia Abu-Jamal is no rock star - even though lots of people just treat him like one.

He's given prerecorded speeches at college graduations, had streets named after him in foreign countries, written and published books and essays and was set to appear on National Public Radio. After Philadelphia's FOP intervened to stop that particular offense, he turned to "Prison Radio" and "Democracy Now!" to deliver messages to his acolytes.

His words appear in many publications, and he's referred to as "the voice of the voiceless." But it's more likely that he's really the voice of Abu-Jamal, promoting himself endlessly and, maybe until recently, winning converts and supporters for his unjust cause.

There's only one person in this case who truly is voiceless, and that's Faulkner. Almost three decades after his execution, where are the banners decrying the villainy that took his young life and turned Maureen Faulkner into a young and bereft widow?

Where are the protests filling streets in Paris and Germany (and Philadelphia) filled with citizens angered by not only the callous act of savagery committed by Abu-Jamal on Dec. 9, 1981, but by the continued defamation of Faulkner's character by certain of Abu-Jamal supporters, and by the lies and distortions and ill-informed claims propagated by Abu-Jamal's most ardent defenders and allies?

Where are the voices for this voiceless, murdered police officer?

Richard Nixon once spoke of the "great, silent majority," and I think, now, 28 years after the murder that rocked this city, that moniker refers to us - the ones who see past the lies and the smoke screens and the desperate attempts at distraction and confusion. It's us, and it's time that we stopped standing around this city with our hands in our pockets quietly muttering to ourselves and tsk-tsk-ing every time another member of Abu-Jamal's ever-shuffling defense team or a Mumia supporter on the Web comes up with a new fantasy.

At 3:51 a.m. on Dec. 9, Philadelphia police radio dispatch put out the call: "Assist the officer."

It's time we answered the call, and stopped being silent.

Gabriel L. Nathan is the author of the book

"For a Tin Star: Honoring America's Slain & Living Police Officers." He lives and writes outside Philadelphia


At 4:07 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I e mailed two staunch supporters, both here and in Germany who have a web site full of speculation regarding the convicted murderer Mumia Abu Jamal and invited them to view this site . Their comments, if they even post, would be interesting.

jon pisano

At 9:43 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a volunteer firefighter & an ex-cop. Naming a street after this cop-killer is not only a slap in the face to the public but also to every single murdered cop & their families. I don't know how or why someone (ex. a city official) could have the heart, mind & common sense to honor this man with any type of award. No matter what good deed this man may have done to become a choice for a street to be named after him, still does not change & will never the fact that he is indeed, a cop-killer!

At 10:48 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a volunteer firefighter & an ex-U.S. Air Force Police Officer!!! Just like it is to all cops, military & civilian alike, this issue is very personal to me!!! Naming a street after this cop-killer is not only a slap in the face to the public but also to every cop & their families, especially to the murdered cops. I don't know how or why someone (ex. a city official) could have the common sense & the common decency to honor this man with any type of award. No matter what good deed this man may have done to become a choice for a street to be named after him, still does not change & will never change the fact that he is indeed, a cop-killer!!! Does President Obama know anything about this?!?! Honestly, what's next? Is our government going to name a city park after Jeffrey Dahmer or how about naming a children's playground after the kids who shot up Columbine High School?!?! Why not just name a street after every American digrace, since that's the new American way of doing things around here?!?! What the hell is happening to our government, our country and our way of life?!?! If that street sign does get put up, I will be right there with everyone else, trying to take it down & then burn it!!!

At 2:40 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

It's says volumes when the "usual suspects" both here and in Germany do not respond to this posting but I'm sure they have read it but are at a loss of a factual response.

jon pisano
Justice For Officer Daniel Faulkner

At 6:16 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At 10:00 AM , Blogger Rob Anderson said...

We've got the same problem here in San Francisco, aka Progressive Land. Cop-killers and those who injure cops are defended by some of our leading politicians, including the Green Party's highest elected official, Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi.

At 4:59 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...


At 4:30 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

This whole blog is the reason why White people should not be let into Black organizations.

At 4:21 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the anon poster above...could you logicaly explain your comment without bias retoric. Bet you can't.
What is posted on this blog is the FACTUAL TRUTH and you know it.

jon pisano

At 4:28 AM , Anonymous Lucious said...

Its funny how any sensible person could ever consider anything written here anything more then carefully crafted bigotry, masqueraded as wishful truths. Also a little side note, constantly repeating the phrase Cop killer over and over in reference to Mumia doesn't really help your case, it just helps to highlight more of the usual idiotic propaganda that you have so thoughtfully provided.

At 3:04 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

@Lucious And there it is, straight from the liberal playbook, the race card! No facts offered, no truth, just the same crap. If there is any racism involved in the case, it is Mumia Abu-Jamal and his supporters who are the racists. He executed a white police officer because he was white and a police officer, his brother set up the whole execution, and his supporters have made a habit of trying to defame the officer's character and the character of the officer's widow, the judge, an anyone else involved in the conviction of the cop killer Jamal. And yes, saying cop killer over and over does help our case because Jamal was convicted of being one. He is what he is and people need to realize that.

Dan Price

At 3:11 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I keep hearing about the "sniff test" or the lack of one being conducted on Jamal's gun by investigators at the scene to see if it had recently been fired. Why wasn't it done? Well I have my own question. What moron drives around Philly at night with a .38 loaded with empty shell casings?


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