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” 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.

Myth # 1

The bullet that killed Officer Faulkner was a .44 caliber bullet, while Jamal’s gun was a .38 caliber.

Myth # 2

Several “eyewitnesses” saw someone else shoot Officer Faulkner and then escape up an alley.

Myth # 3

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.

Myth # 4

Mumia Abu-Jamal is a political prisoner who was convicted and sentenced to death because of his political beliefs and his past membership in the Black Panthers.

Myth # 5

The court allocated just $150 for Mumia Abu-Jamal and his attorney to mount their entire defense.

Myth # 6

The Philadelphia Police Department lost evidence, withheld evidence, coerced witnesses and conspired against Mr. Jamal to obtain a conviction.

Myth # 7

In an effort to frame Mumia Abu-Jamal and secure a conviction, the Philadelphia Police fabricated a story about Mumia Abu-Jamal’s Emergency Room confession.

Myth # 8

Mr. Jamal was coming to the aid of his brother who was being brutally beaten by Officer Faulkner.

Myth # 9

Mumia Abu-Jamal was denied his right to self representation, in violation of his Constitutional Rights.

Myth # 10

Mumia Abu-Jamal’s court appointed attorney was admittedly incompetent and incapable of mounting a defense on Jamal’s behalf.

Myth # 11

Judge Albert Sabo has sentenced more black people to death than any other Judge in the U.S. Therefore, he had a bias against Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Myth # 12

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.

Myth # 13

Only one prosecution witness saw Mr. Jamal with a gun.

Myth # 14

Mumia Abu-Jamal is an “award winning journalist” who was targeted by police and Mayor Frank Rizzo because he had repeatedly exposed police corruption in Philadelphia.

Myth # 15

Some of Jamal’s supporters suggest that the “real killer’s” driver’s license was found in Officer Faulkner’s pocket the morning he was murdered.

Myth # 16

The downward angle of Jamal’s wound makes the prosecution’s explanation of the shooting impossible.

Myth # 17

Justice for Daniel Faulkner response to the Arnold Beverly Story.



Article Details:

December 09, 1981 : Policeman Daniel Faulkner found dead

  • Author

    History.com Staff
  • Website Name

    History.com
  • Year Published

    2009
  • Title

    December 09, 1981 : Policeman Daniel Faulkner found dead
  • URL

    http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/policeman-daniel-faulkner-found-dead
  • Access Date

    December 08, 2015
  • Publisher

    A+E Networks

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