Today on my radio show I interviewed one of the most courageous women I’ve ever met.
Maureen Faulkner is, quite simply, a remarkable lady, a symbol of everything that is great about America: strength, goodness, decency and tenacity.
Tragically, she will forever be linked to a monster named Mumia, a cold-blooded cop killer who has inexplicably become popular, even beloved, after he brutally executed a brave young police officer in Philadelphia on a bitterly cold morning in Philadelphia in December of 1981.
The connection between Mumia Abu-Jamal and Maureen Faulkner? Abu-Jamal was the one who killed Maureen’s husband, a popular and accomplished young police officer named Danny.
The facts are stark and simple. While Officer Faulkner was attempting to subdue a struggling punk named William Cook who had been driving the wrong way down a one-way street with his lights off in the middle of the night, no fewer than four eyewitnesses watched Cook’s brother, a disgruntled, angry, white-hating activist named Mumia Abu-Jamal run up behind the police officer and, in a cowardly act, fire a bullet into his back. As the young cop spun around, he managed to get a shot off that hit Abu-Jamal. But by now, the multiple eyewitnesses later testified, Office Faulker collapsed on the frozen pavement, lying on his back. Jamal leaned over the dying officer and finished him off, firing a bullet between his eyes.
In terms of indisputable guilt, there’s so much more. The snarl of Jamal as he later said at the hospital, “I shot the mother f***er and I hope the mother f***er dies”, an evil boast that was heard by two people. The ballistics evidence linking the bullet to Jamal’s gun (he was wearing a leather shoulder holster the night of the killing). The violent rhetoric that Jamal was known to have spoken against police officers and authority figures during his days as a failed “journalist” in Philadelphia prior to the shooting.
It was one of the most open and shut murder cases in the history of the city of Philadelphia.
Naturally, he was convicted. Justifiably, he was sentenced to death.
But the worse was yet to come.
This crazy world, inhabited by crazy fanatics who never met a liberal cause they didn’t like, featured an emerging “Free Mumia” movement, a cause embraced by radical hippies, dimwitted college kids, and a few Hollywood has-beens like Ed Asner, Mike Ferrell, and Ruby Dee.