Mumia Abu Jamal spotted the police officer through the windshield of the empty taxi he was driving. He pulled into the Locust Street parking lot, snapped the door handle and hit the ground running. As he ran he released his .38 caliber Charter Arms revolver from his shoulder holster. The officer didn’t see Abu Jamal’s sneak attack coming. At less than an arm’s length Abu Jamal shot the Irish working-class policeman in the back. The hollow-point bullet tore into Daniel Faulkner’s upper back just to the left of his spine, near the base of his neck. The wounded policeman struggled to turn and shoot at his attacker.
Daniel Faulkner collapsed from his injury. It was then that the cowardly Mumia Abu Jamal crept up on the fallen officer and blasted away at him again and again. One bullet hit Daniel Faulkner in the face, exploded through the bones above his eyes, then ripped through his brain, through the right parietal bone at the back of his head, and spent itself in his right occipital bone. An eyewitness to the assassination testified that Faulkner’s entire body jerked from the bullet’s impact. The medical examiner testified that Daniel Faulkner suffered “complete instantaneous disability and death.”
The assassination happened at four in the morning on a cold December 9th in 1981. Faulkner had stopped Mumia Abu Jamal’s younger brother, Bill Cook, for driving his blue Volkswagen the wrong way on a one-way street. When Officer Robert Shoemaker arrived at the murder scene only moments after the assassination, Mumia Abu Jamal was sitting on the curb with his right arm across his chest and his left hand on the pavement. Officer Shoemaker commanded Abu Jamal to remain motionless (freeze!), but Mumia began to move his left hand toward his gun which lay only eight inches away. The officer repeated his command. When Mumia continued to reach for his firearm, Officer Shoemaker kicked the assassin in the throat. Mumia flopped over backward whimpering “I’m shot. I’m shot.”
Ballistics experts testified that the fatal projectile that was removed from Daniel Faulkner’s skull has surface markings like those on bullets fired from Mumia’s own .38 Charter Arms undercover special revolver, which he had purchased legally two and a half years earlier and carried in a shoulder holster. The fatal P-Plus hollow-point bullet had eight right-turning rifling scars consistent with Mumia’s revolver.
Four witnesses described Mumia’s behavior at the crime scene. Three of them identified Mumia Abu Jamal at the crime scene. At trial, the fourth witness correctly identified the clothing Mumia had worn at the crime scene. One witness testified to seeing Mumia holding a gun. Another witness heard gunshots and then saw Mumia standing over the fallen policeman in a gesture of firing.
From the accumulated testimony of these witnesses we know that Officer Daniel Faulkner stopped Bill Cook for a traffic infraction. Bill Cook sucker-punched the policeman and Faulkner responded with force. Mumia Abu Jamal came running from the parking lot and fired his gun at Faulkner’s back. Faulkner fell. Mumia Abu Jamal then fired several more bullets, hitting the supine policeman in the face. Abu Jamal sat down on the curb because he was debilitated by a bullet wound in his chest. When police arrived, Bill Cook looked stunned. He would say only: “I ain’t got nothing to do with it.” Cook has never uttered another word about the killing.
Mumia Abu Jamal murdered Daniel Faulkner; the evidence against him is overwhelming. The killer was caught at the murder scene with the still-warm murder weapon beside him. As Joseph McGill, the assistant district attorney who tried this case, remarked: “This is not a situation where someone was arrested and brought back to the scene. In this case, [Abu Jamal] never left the scene, because he was shot in the chest. You cannot get a better identification than that.” Abu Jamal was transported to a hospital for treatment. While he was there a witness heard him say: “I shot the motherfucker and I hope the motherfucker dies!” She reported the statement to investigators the next day.
The testimony of eyewitnesses, says Prosecutor McGill, was overpowering “[Abu Jamal] never left the scene. He was identified by witnesses who never left the scene.” Witnesses took a pounding from Abu Jamal’s attorney, but they were unshakable. “I know who shot the cop,” one witness testified, “And I ain’t going to forget it.” Cynthia White testified that Abu Jamal “came running out of the parking lot on Locust Street. He had a handgun in his hand. He fired the gun at the police officer about four or five times. The police officer fell to the ground. I started screaming.” She looked directly at Mumia Abu Jamal and added: “There’s no doubt: it’s him.” Five other witnesses testified that Abu Jamal had admitted that he murdered Daniel Faulkner.
Abu Jamal was tried for the murder of Daniel Faulkner. He was convicted by the unanimous vote of a racially mixed jury. In 1982 he was sentenced to death. Since his conviction more that a dozen judges have heard many appeals made on his behalf. All motions to reverse the jury’s unanimous decision have been denied. Abu Jamal received a fair trial. There was overwhelming evidence of his guilt. He is as guilty as sin.
So how did this cowardly little back shooter become a leftist cause celebre? How did his likeness come to emblazon T-shirts, jackets, tote bags and mouse pads? Why is he the center of a big-bucks money mill that merchandizes books, CDs, audio and video tapes all over the world?
Well, for one thing, he’s a leftist himself and his race gives him unquestioned victim status among left-leaning “intellectuals.” His sad eyes, droopy dreadlocks, and the exotic name which he gave himself, lend him some much-coveted “authenticity.” Before he discovered a taste for mood-altering chemicals and an ultra-extremist ideology, Abu Jamal had worked stints as a Philadelphia radio personality. He called himself a “journalist.” For the left-leaning media that was the clincher. . .he was one of them.
When Abu Jamal was sent to death row in 1983, he had little to worry about. Pennsylvania hadn’t actually executed anyone since 1962. The mood changed when Pennsylvania executed a killer in May of 1995. A second malefactor was dispatched the following August. The murderers on Pennsylvania’s death row were starting to sweat; the wheels of justice had begun to turn.
That same year, Tom Ridge, the governor of Pennsylvania, signed Abu Jamal’s death warrant. It was what Abu Jamal’s racially-mixed jury had decided was a proper punishment for him after considering the overwhelming evidence of his guilt and the depraved nature of his behavior. Abu Jamal had been convicted of first degree murder on July 2, 1982, but he had continued to draw breath for another thirteen years, all the while polishing his image as a righteous-orthodox-leftist-political-prisoner-of- conscience. It was pure political theater, but it was sweet music to a legion of True Believers.
The Friends of Mumia included five lawyers and thirteen investigators. They did some astute judge shopping and got his death sentence indefinitely delayed. They began a world-wide propaganda campaign that portrayed America’s judicial system as racist and barbaric.
Soon poor Mumia had more callers than his busy social calendar could handle. A member of the German Parliament could not be accommodated, which distressed Mumia’s lawyer, Leonard Weinglass, no end because of the importance Weinglass placed on Mumia’s “German support.” But Danielle Mitterrand, widow of the French president Francois Mitterrand, did manage to have an audience with the sainted Mumia. She expressed her support and solidarity. What would we ever do without guidance from the French.
And the mail! This assassin-turned-celebrity receives more fan mail than he can possibly answer. “He doesn’t have time,” laments lawyer Weinglass. “When I go to see him, he asks me to contact this one, contact that one, apologize, tell them I’m busy.” Of course he’s busy, what with all the articles he writes for Internet distribution, and the audio tapes he records for the Pacifica Radio Network’s twenty stations and for commencement speeches at American colleges. The National Public Radio network (NPR), which is subsidized with your tax dollars, was begging Mumia to send them his opinions about what a crappy place America is. And there was Lenny Weinglass pestering poor Mumia about what to do with the mountain of cash that was flowing in from benefit concerts.
Mumia Abu Jamal couldn’t have had a more fitting lawyer than Lenny Weinglass. Back in 1969, Lenny and William Kunstler represented the Chicago Seven, those lovable leftist pranksters who fomented calamitous riots in the streets of Chicago. Lenny defended Angela Davis, a communist who smuggled a handgun to a prison inmate, who used the gun to kill a judge. Lenny rushed to the defense of the Symbionese Liberation Army, whose contributions to America included kidnapping, bank robbery and lots of gunplay. Lenny puffs up with pride when he describes his pilgrimage to Peru on behalf of Abimael Guzman, leader of the fanatical leftist guerrilla group The Shining Path, which to date has slaughtered almost 30,000 indigenous peasants whose only “crime” was not sharing Guzman’s utopian vision of radiant communism.
Lenny Weinglass knows the importance of positive publicity. “The best thing that can happen to anyone in the criminal justice system,” he proclaims, “is to have outside support.” When Lenny Weinglass first attached himself to Mumia Abu Jamal in 1995, support for Mumia was microscopic, but savvy media manipulation changed all that. Once the left-leaning mainstream media discovered a black death-row inmate with media experience, they fell all over themselves to bask in the reflected glow of an “authentic political prisoner of conscience.” Mumia Abu Jamal stood ready to validate all of the leftist media’s most heartfelt prejudices. National Public Radio signed up the cop killer to do commentaries for their popular afternoon show All Things Considered. In 1995 Addison-Wesley published a collection of Abu Jamal’s commentaries under the title Live from Death Row, which alone has garnered about $800,000. From that moment on, the American Left was given every encouragement by the prior case of Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, the multiple murderer who had slaughtered several innocent white strangers back in the 1960s. Carter had used his book, The Sixteenth Round as a springboard to left-wing media and Hollywood stardom. A completely fraudulent movie about Carter’s crimes had helped to sway public opinion in Carter’s favor. The Carter campaign was like a blueprint for Mumia lovers. They embarked on a crusade to free Mumia, as they said, “brick by brick,” using lies, fraud and manufactured confusion. A Canadian film crew arrived in Philadelphia to begin a revisionist history of the assassination featuring an unarmed Mumia impersonator.
The first attack on the truth was launched in 1995 with an expensive full-page advertisement in the New York Times. This broadside asserted that Mumia Abu Jamal (an assassin apprehended at the crime scene with a smoking gun) hadn’t been given a “fair” trial. The ad was undersigned by such outspoken anti-Americans as Maya Angelou, Alec Baldwin, Derrick Bell, Noam Chomsky, E.L.Doctorow, Spike Lee, Susan Sarandon and the loony Oliver Stone. Honorary citizenship has been bestowed on Mumia Abu Jamal by leftists in about twenty-five cities, including Montreal, Palermo and Paris. A call for clemency would not be complete without the names Jesse Jackson and Martin Sheen. Everyone’s left-wing credentials are secure.
Had any of the American Left’s shining lights actually read the transcript of Abu Jamal’s murder trial? Of course not. The outspoken Ed Asner is living proof that no liberal ever died of embarrassment. When asked if he had read the transcript Asner babbled: “Could I stay awake?” Asner added that “the severity of his sentencing was too damned much.” Too much for a cowardly back-shooting cop killer? What does a person have to do to deserve the death penalty, Ed? On television Ed Asner tried to sound like he knew something about the case. Asner blurted: “The fact that no ballistics were done...is pretty stupid.” To which Sam Donaldson responded: “Ballistics tests were done and proved the bullet was fired by a .38 caliber revolver.” Asner complained to Philadelphia Magazine that there were no blacks on Mumia’s jury, even though two black jurors had voted to convict Abu Jamal.
E.L.Doctorow wrote a piece supporting Abu Jamal which the New York Times eagerly published. When asked if he had read the case transcript Doctorow responded that he didn’t think that a full reading was necessary. “I don’t remember what portions I read,” said Doctorow. Judging from his arguments, probably not a word.
The old Negro actor, Ossie Davis, who raised cash to help the cop killer, said he could see no useful purpose in reading that big ‘ole transcript. “We the people, in a democracy, are not going to read the transcripts of all the cases that come before us,” he said.
The Negro fiction writer Alice Walker dropped in to visit Mr. Abu Jamal two times. “He is just beautiful,” she gushed. Walker admits that, to the best of her recollection, she has only read “bits and pieces” of the trial transcript. The stupid Alice Walker then added: “What I think happened is that he was actually trying to help Faulkner.” God save us all!
All of Mumia Abu Jamal’s intellectual support is as shabby as this. Ignorant celebrities lend their voices to his cause. Benefit concerts pull in the suckers and vacuum their pockets. One concert drew 16,000 people to a New Jersey arena and featured the Beastie Boys and Rage Against the Machine, best known for their attacks on the same capitalist system that has made them rich. Rallies in Philadelphia and San Francisco pulled in a total of 25,000 clueless souls. With such a well-oiled cash machine working to free the assassin of Officer Daniel Faulkner, who would be a voice for decency, common sense and simple justice?
The ancient Greeks believed that the blood of a slain innocent cried out, and that this cry called forth the Furies, those angry female spirits who would not rest until justice had been done. Such a spirit has come forth. She is the American Left’s most hated impediment to their campaign to free Mumia Abu Jamal. She is Officer Daniel Faulkner’s stricken widow, Maureen Faulkner. Every fallen hero should have such a wife.
The last time she saw her husband alive he was dressing to go to work in a blue shirt and a uniform sweater to ward off the winter chill. Her husband was 25 years old; their marriage was barely a year old. Their time together had been subject to his ever-changing shift schedule. She had feared for his safety. He had sat at the table, paid the bills, and set aside money for Christmas. He had left their two-bedroom row house at 11:30 p.m. It was just another night. He had taken a seven-year-old rape victim to the hospital. Then he had begun the graveyard shift in Philadelphia’s seedy underbelly. Mumia Abu Jamal’s fatal attack against her husband destroyed Maureen Faulkner’s dreams, her loved one.
On the night he assassinated Officer Faulkner, Abu Jamal was just another nobody. His former radio station colleagues avoided him. He had fallen under the influence of a hard-left militant group called MOVE, which was heavily into drugs and violence and stupid Marxist rhetoric. Members of MOVE have been convicted of gunning down another police officer. These were Abu Jamal’s new friends. Abu Jamal frequently covered MOVE for WHYY, the local tax payer subsidized radio station, so his attachment to MOVE became a cause for growing concern. His reporting needed constant inspection and major revision. “His behavior at the station was really out of control,” said a former colleague. “He looked like a guy who was high. He acted like a guy who was high.” He stopped showing up for work. He disappeared with the station’s staff car for three days. They asked him to resign. He managed to get a job driving a taxi. He was driving a taxi the night he murdered Daniel Faulkner.
The ranting ideologue who strutted and postured for a courtroom packed with MOVE cultists, the jerk who made taunting leers at Maureen Faulkner, the coward who refused to take the witness stand and give his version of events under oath, is not the repackaged radical-chic romantic-prisoner-of-conscience Mumia that you see today. And that troubles Maureen Faulkner. She is offended that the American Left is using Madison Avenue techniques to sell the idea that Mumia Abu Jamal is just a sweet cuddly guy with a heart full of love who wouldn’t hurt a fly. “You wait,” predicted Maureen Faulkner. “If he ever gets a retrial, you’re gonna see Jamal in a buzz haircut and a suit.”
Maureen Faulkner had taken enough crap from the radical Left. She screamed bloody murder. Public disgust and a vigorous protest made National Public Radio drop Abu Jamal as a commentator. No one inside the hermetic world of NPR could imagine anyone objecting to taxpayer money being used to subsidize the self-aggrandizement of a cop killer with political pretentions. The poor dears were quite surprised.
When Addison-Wesley decided to make a quick buck by publishing Abu Jamal’s book, Maureen Faulkner personally hired a pilot to fly over their offices towing a banner that read: “ADDISON-WESLEY SUPPORTS COP KILLERS.” When Maureen Faulkner heard that HBO was going to present a so-called “documentary” that conveniently omitted facts that established Abu Jamal’s guilt, she sent Gerald Levin, the head of Time Warner (better known for its promotion of rap songs with cop-killer lyrics) a letter which said: “The facts of my husband’s murder are brutal and crystal clear. All physical evidence and eyewitness testimony has demonstrated over and over again that Mumia Abu-Jamal shot my husband in the back, and while he lay face up and conscious on the sidewalk Jamal emptied his gun into my wounded husband’s face.” Clearly, the Gerald Levins of this world don’t come by any sense of morality naturally; they need to have their snouts rubbed in it.
The Friends of Mumia spin a new lie every week. They spread the lie that Daniel Faulkner was killed by a .44 caliber bullet, just to confuse people. They spread the lie that there was a mystery gunman, though none of the witnesses at the crime scene saw such a person. Lenny Weinglass made up a bogus story that Daniel Faulkner was an FBI agent who was assassinated by rogue cops. They floated the lie that Dan Faulkner himself was a rogue cop. Their purpose was always to create confusion and doubt. “I really felt as though I was putting out the fires of Hell alone,” lamented Maureen Faulkner.
The Left struck back at Maureen Faulkner with a torrent of hateful, threatening and obscene invective. E-mail telling her that her husband was “a piece of shit” and that he “deserved to die” were the Left’s intellectual norm.
Entire college administrations have conspired to spread the lies of Mumia’s public relations squad. Antioch College, in Yellow Springs, Ohio, chose Mumia Abu Jamal as their commencement speaker. The administration denied Maureen Faulkner the opportunity to speak on the pretext that Abu Jamal’s murder conviction would not be discussed at the commencement. But then Antioch’s chosen Leslie Feinberg got up and elaborated several convoluted theories that depicted Abu Jamal as a victim of a frame-up. Then Abu Jamal’s recorded speech was played over the public address system. He rattled off a list of those people he most admired. His list included violent insurrectionists, racial separatists, two Lenin Prize winners and a Stalin Prize winner. When the Antioch graduates heard that Maureen Faulkner was holding a memorial ceremony for her husband half a mile away, they attacked it. Wearing masks they crashed the memorial service and shouted such things as: “I’m happy he killed that cop!” and “Free Mumia, whether he’s guilty or innocent.”
Maureen Faulkner had asked to speak at Antioch, but president Bob Devine would not return her calls. Devine did send her a written brush off, entire paragraphs of which were identical to another letter that Maureen had received from June Jervis, president of Evergreen State College, which had also embraced the cop killer as their chosen commencement speaker. These college presidents were in cahoots!
President Devine rattles the hollow piety that “the first amendment is for the speech we most abhor, not for that with which we agree.” He doesn’t mean it! Bob Devine never hears any speech he abhors. He maintains a suffocating speech code over all of Antioch College and conservative speakers at Antioch are, shall we say, unwelcome.
Antioch told Maureen Faulkner that they were a private college and she could not come on campus. When word of Antioch’s only-one-perspective-is-allowed policy brought them bad publicity, the administration floated the lie that they had invited Maureen Faulkner to conduct a “teach in.” Maureen Faulkner says that their “invitation” was for the one brief period when they knew absolutely that she could not attend.
Maureen Faulkner’s memorial ceremony was crashed by masked conformists chanting obscenities, not people seeking to engage in an exchange of perspectives. After years of exposure to leftist formulas, these students were unable to think beyond the limits of those comforting formulas. Formulas freed them from the burden of original thought. Maureen’s challenge to these formulas elicited only anger and confusion from people whose world view would be threatened by the manifest evidence. The evidence shows that Mumia Abu Jamal is a cowardly killer, not a revolutionary hero. All the Antioch students could do was shout and stomp their feet like petulent two-year-olds. Parents who sent their children to such schools don’t want children who will challenge the parent’s internalized leftist formulas.
Maureen Faulkner is not the only person who has been targeted for heavy-handed censorship by the Mumia cult. In 1999, writer Gerry Nicosia got his chapter of the writer’s group PEN to bestow its anti-censorship award on Abu Jamal. Nicosia was sympathetic to Abu Jamal when he began a book about Mumia. “I heard Leonard Weinglass on numerous occasions tell people that there was no way Mumia could have killed Faulkner because Mumia had a .38 and Faulkner was killed with a .44,” Nicosia recalled. But when Nicosia asked Mumia’s lawyer, Dan Williams, about a ballistics report that might support such a claim, Williams admitted that no such evidence existed. Even the ballistics expert hired by Mumia’s defense team allowed that Daniel Faulkner was shot between the eyes with a .38 caliber bullet. Later, when Nicosia reviewed Mumia’s book All Things Censored for the San Francisco Chronicle, he commented that there was evidence that pointed to Mumia as the killer. The Mumia cult went nuts! Some cultists got their hands on a copy of the book proposal that Nicosia was circulating to publishers. They began a campaign of intimidation to suppress its publication. They were not happy with its detailed description of how Abu Jamal’s legal team wrangled over whether to advance the loony theory that Officer Faulkner was shot by a Mafia hit team at the very instant that Faulkner was arresting Mumia’s brother and Mumia arrived on the scene. Lawyering doesn’t get any more desperate and pathetic than this.
Mumia’s lawyer, Dan Williams, has also written a book. It’s called Executing Justice. In it he questions some of the amazingly stupid conspiracy theories that the Mumia cult is spreading. He argues that these preposterous stories actually damaged Mumia’s defense. This really pissed Mumia and he fired his entire legal team, including Leonard Weinglass.
Mumia himself was responsible for the character of his own defense. He fought with his own lawyer and presented a defense so weird and weak that a local reporter wondered aloud whether he had a death wish. The essence of his defense argument was that someone else shot Daniel Faulkner. Among law enforcement buffs this is known as the “some dude” defense, as in “I didn’t shoot the guy.” “Well then, who did shoot him?” “Some dude.” Which, of course, didn’t explain away the question of the whereabouts of the five .38 caliber P-Plus hollow-point bullets that had just been fired from the warm and smoking handgun that lay next to Mumia. Bullets like the one removed from Daniel Faulkner who lay dead next to Mumia. The gun was registered to Mumia. The gun fit the empty shoulder holster that Mumia was wearing.
None of which makes the slightest difference to the sort of person who would join the Mumia cult in the first place. There is a spectrum of human intelligence, after all, and half of the human population is on the downside of the bell curve. These people cling to their cultural icons, their “revolutionary heroes.” It’s a part of their inchoate hopes for a shining new tomorrow. One pathetic cultist spoke of getting in touch with his “Inner Mumia.” We can sympathize with their hopes and still call these pathetic people stupid.
For instance, the actor Mike Farrell has been feverishly campaigning for Mumia since 1993. He went on Larry King’s television show and proclaimed: “Larry, all I know is that Mumia says he didn’t do it.” But when pressed by Paul Mulshine to cite even one such denial, Farrell could not do it. Farrell says he had conversations with Leonard Weinglass, but when asked if he had ever asked Weinglass if Mumia was Faulkner’s assassin, all Farrell could manage was the incredibly weak: “I don’t know if I asked him that or not.” For the record: Mumia Abu Jamal has never denied that he assassinated Officer Daniel Faulkner. Is there something about people who make a living creating illusions (Hollywood) that attracts them to those who specialize in deceptive political theater (Castro, Mao, Stalin, Che) and gunmen with revolutionary pretensions?
Charles Grant, the prosecutor at Mumia’s 1995 appeal recalls that virtually every member of the national media who interviewed him was sympathetic to Abu Jamal. They all asked him about Mumia’s silly “some dude” defense. None of these leftist scribblers asked about Mumia’s smoking gun.