Meet a remarkable woman. Her name is Maureen Faulkner, and she is the widow of decorated Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner.
You won't find many police survivors on the covers of magazines. They are generally forgotten people, remembered only by their friends and families and maybe the agencies and unions that their murdered police officer worked for or belonged to. In some ways that is a blessing for them. They are allowed to heal in peace.
Maureen Faulkner did not get that blessing. Her husband was shot to death by Mumia Abu-Jamal. And next to Charles Manson, Mumia Abu-Jamal may be America's most famous murderer.
You see, Mumia Abu-Jamal is considered by millions of people worldwide to be a "political prisoner." These people believe he was railroaded by a racist judge and a racist jury and framed by racist cops. They say he was targeted by police because of his affiliation with the Black Panthers and other radical groups.
As a columnist for a Black Panther newspaper, Mumia Abu-Jamal had penned the words, "Let's write epitaphs for pigs." That's a disgusting sentiment, but it's not illegal. So if Abu-Jamal's militant politics were the only reason that he was convicted, then his legions of supporters, including Amnesty International, might have reason to believe that he is a political prisoner. But unfortunately for them, the evidence against the man is overwhelming.
Here's just a smattering of what the prosecutors had to work with in this case: the defendant purchased the murder weapon and the type of ammunition used to kill Officer Faulkner; the defendant was sitting on the curb just feet away from Faulkner's body reaching for the weapon when he was arrested; the defendant was shot by Officer Faulkner after he shot Officer Faulkner; a .38 slug from Faulkner's revolver was surgically removed from the defendant's chest; several eyewitnesses saw the defendant shoot Officer Faulkner; the defendant was heard saying, "I shot the motherf___er, and I hope the motherf___er dies" by two people at the hospital
It should have been an open-and-shut case, but Mumia Abu-Jamal's trial couldn't have been more of a circus if it had been presented by Ringling Bros. In this circus, Abu-Jamal was the ringmaster. He insisted on representing himself or being represented by the founder of the violent black militant group MOVE John Africa who wasn't a lawyer. Both requests were denied. When the circus was over, the jury (which included two African-Americans) convicted Abu-Jamal of first-degree murder, despite the best efforts of an experienced defense attorney who had won other murder trials.
In 1982, when Abu-Jamal was sentenced to death, Maureen Faulkner believed that she would soon see justice for her husband. But over the last 26 years she has seen nothing but injustice.
And since 1992, Mumia Abu-Jamal has benefited from a carefully planned campaign designed to convince liberals in Hollywood and college students and other naive people that he was falsely convicted just because he was a black militant. All of these folks—the overwhelming majority of whom have not read the trial transcript—think they know more about what happened on Dec. 9, 1981, than the 12 citizens who heard the testimony of eyewitnesses and chose to convict Mumia Abu-Jamal. Those 12 citizens knew that Mumia Abu-Jamal is a cop killer.
Maureen Faulkner knows it, too, and she has told her story in the heartbreaking memoir "Murdered by Mumia: A Life Sentence of Loss, Pain, and Injustice." I urge you to read her book and support her in any way you can. Because Maureen Faulkner is more than just a cop's widow, she is a champion for justice, wielding the only weapon she has: the truth.