- - Tuesday, January 29, 2019

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The FBI reported that as of Dec. 18, 2018, 53 law enforcement officers were feloniously killed in 2018. Forty-five law enforcement officers were feloniously killed in the previous year.

There is nothing more dangerous than a cop killer. The criminal who is bold enough to murder a police officer, who is armed and supported by his/her fellow armed officers, will not hesitate to kill anyone, anywhere, anytime.

A cop killer is a total outlaw.

There is one cop killer in particular who continues to rankle Philadelphia police officers and other officers across the nation. In what can be called one of Philadelphia’s most celebrated criminal cases, Mumia Abu-Jamal was convicted of murder and sentenced to death in 1982 for the shooting of Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner in 1981. Faulkner was only 25 years old.

Abu-Jamal was originally sentenced to death, but his sentence was commuted to life in prison.



The long, drawn out case of Abu-Jamal sadly continues on to this day. A Philadelphia Common Pleas Court judge ruled last month that Abu-Jamal can re-argue an appeal before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court as the then-Chief Justice, Ronald D. Castille, did not recuse himself, although he was the Philadelphia district attorney back when Abu-Jamal was appealing his case.

Maureen Faulkner, Faulkner’s long-suffering widow, was ejected from the court when she spoke out. She later wrote an op-ed in the Philadelphia Inquirer that stated that Tom Wolf, Pennsylvania’s Democratic governor, and Philadelphia’s Democratic district attorney, Larry Krasner, have so politized capital punishment and life sentences that she and others who have lost loved ones to murder are political prisoners in the legal system.

She called on Mr. Krasner to fight Abu-Jamal’s appeal, which, surprisingly, the DA did. Surprisingly, as the DA is a radical leftist and former civil rights attorney who sued the Philadelphia Police Department 75 times and represented anti-police groups like ACT UP and Black Lives Matter pro-bono.

Abu-Jamal is the poster child of the left. A photo of Abu-Jamal, dressed in prison garb and sporting a beard and dreadlocks, adorns T-shirts and posters from Philadelphia to Paris. The anti-American international crowd, as well as celebrities like Alec Baldwin and Whoppi Goldberg, have called for a new trial and his ultimate acquittal.

Abu-Jamal is a former Black Panther and supporter of the militant back-to-nature group MOVE. He was a radio reporter but was fired for his obsession with and open advocacy of the MOVE group. He began to drive a cab.

According to the testimony that convicted Abu-Jamal, Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner was shot and killed on Dec. 9, 1981, at 4 a.m. on 13th and Locust Streets in Center City Philadelphia.

Faulkner had stopped William Cook, Abu-Jamal’s brother, for driving the wrong way on 13th Street. Cook and Faulkner were wrestling when Abu-Jamal drove up in his cab. According to three witnesses, a man in dreadlocks ran through the parking lot and shot Faulkner. Two of the three witnesses positively identified Abu-Jamal as the murderer.

Abu-Jamal came up behind Faulkner and shot him in the back. Faulkner returned fire as he fell to the street and was able to place a round in Abu-Jamal’s chest. Although wounded, Abu-Jamal shot Faulkner again, but this time it was point-blank between Faulkner’s eyes. Abu-Jamal then collapsed in the street alongside Faulkner.

Police responding quickly to the scene found Abu-Jamal sitting in the street and suffering from a gunshot wound from Faulkner’s gun. Abu-Jamal’s legally registered .38-caliber revolver was discovered at the scene, along with five spent shell casings.

Both Abu-Jamal and his brother have refused steadfastly to testify or publicly give their side of the night’s events.

The DA at the time, Lynne Abraham, wrote in an op-ed in The New York Times that was reprinted in the Philadelphia Daily News. She stated that Abu-Jamal was represented by an experienced former prosecutor who took the case at the request of one of Abu-Jamal’s friends.

Ms. Abraham, who was once called “one tough cookie” by Philadelphia Mayor Frank Rizzo, went on to state that the jury was composed of both blacks and whites chosen with Abu-Jamal’s personal participation. They voted unanimously to convict him of first-degree murder for executing a police officer in cold blood.

“When the police happened on the scene, almost immediately after it occurred, the evidence of guilt, both eyewitness and physical, was at the scene along with the perpetrator. There was no reason or opportunity to fabricate the evidence, all of which corroborated each other. There is no question of guilt,” Ms. Abraham wrote in her op-ed.

While awaiting yet one more appeal, Abu-Jamal is serving his life sentence at Graterford Prison in Philadelphia.

This is where, in my view, this convicted cop killer belongs.

• Paul Davis is a writer who covers crime, espionage and terrorism.

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