PHILADELPHIA (AP) — More than three decades after Officer Daniel Faulkner was gunned down on a city street by Mumia Abu-Jamal, officials on Monday unveiled a mural memorializing the officer at the police district headquarters to which he was assigned.
Police officials and Faulkner's widow hailed the 25-foot-tall mural painted on the side of the building in the city's Chinatown section as a fitting tribute to the officer, who was shot in December 1981 in downtown Philadelphia.
"It's very emotional for me," said his widow, Maureen, fighting back tears. "Even though it's been (almost 33) years, it brings back so many memories of what happened the night Danny was murdered."
Abu-Jamal, a onetime radio journalist and former Black Panther who was sentenced to death in 1982, has drawn international support in the decades since his conviction amid claims that he was the victim of a racist justice system. In 2011, prosecutors agreed to a life term after a federal appeals court ordered a new sentencing hearing, citing flawed jury instructions.
John McNesby, president of the local chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police, said the support Abu-Jamal has received is a "travesty."
More than 100 people, including new police recruits and officers who worked with Faulkner, attended the dedication. Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey said the mural and those in attendance represent the department's commitment to stand alongside families of fallen officers.
"We have the ceremonies when an officer is killed — all of the pomp and circumstance going on around the funeral," Ramsey said. "But it's the family after everyone goes away that still has that void. Knowing that we're still part of this family I think is important and can't be underestimated."