For weeks, I have watched with disgust as the ignorant and irrational have embraced the cause of a man who deserves nothing but scorn. This man is Wesley Cook (a.k.a. Mumia Abu-Jamal), an individual who was convicted of killing 25-year-old Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner.
This is a man who, as a youth, was affiliated with terrorist organizations and spewed violent anti-government rhetoric as a journalist and talk-radio anchor. He once proclaimed “political power comes from the barrel of a gun.” At his sentencing hearing for capital murder, he threatened the presiding judge with “a death sentence.”
In recent years, his case has become a cause c?l?bre for those who believe evidence and empirical evaluation have no place in our criminal justice system. Recently, on the pages of this publication, a student urged all GW students to “walk out of class” and “confront this example of racism.” In keeping with the style of most people who want Abu-Jamal free, no facts were supplied to support this allegation.
I was curious as to how an “innocent” man like Abu-Jamal could possibly be convicted of such a heinous crime, so I did my homework. If you wish to learn more, you might visit www.danielfaulkner.com. After examining transcripts of Abu-Jamal’s trial and appeals, a “20/20” report and the forensic report on the case, I came to the same conclusion as the jury: Mumia Abu-Jamal shot Daniel Faulkner in cold blood Dec. 9, 1981.
Here are a few statements of fact that some fail to mention:
Five eyewitnesses testified they saw Abu-Jamal shoot Faulkner.
Abu-Jamal was apprehended 10 feet from Faulkner’s dead body with a bullet from Faulkner’s service revolver in his chest.
Abu-Jamal’s registered gun was found in his hand at the scene with five cartridges missing. Bullets matching the ones still in Jamal’s gun were extracted from Faulkner’s body.
Three eyewitnesses testified they heard Abu-Jamal shout “I shot the (expletive) and I hope he dies!”
The prosecution approved four black jurors out of 12 to hear the capital murder case, and Abu-Jamal chose to disqualify one of those himself. Abu-Jamal continues to argue that a racist white jury convicted him.
When Faulkner’s bloody shirt was displayed at trial, Abu-Jamal turned and smiled at Faulkner’s widow.
Abu-Jamal’s brother, William Cook, was stopped by Faulkner for a traffic violation just minutes before Faulkner was murdered.
William Cook pleaded guilty to assaulting Faulkner on the night of his murder.
These are the facts. Not even Abu-Jamal’s attorneys dispute any of the above information. Some individuals still protest his guilt and encourage us to do the same.
Instead, we should be devoting our efforts to remembering and honoring one of Philadelphia’s finest. Daniel Faulkner was a husband, a son, a brother and a veteran. It is justice for him we should be seeking.
-The writer is a sophomore double majoring in political science and criminal justice.