December 8, 1981 started as any other winter morning in Philadelphia. The combination of cold temperatures and the early hour meant the streets were quiet; the City of Brotherly Love had yet to wake and start its normally busy routine. But, for Officer Daniel J. Faulkner, Philadelphia Police Department, and the Cook brothers Wesley and William, before dawn spread across the city one would lay dead and another would become a cultural icon in the fight against government corruption. But who is the REAL hero?
At approximately 0350 hours, Officer Faulkner was patrolling the area near 13th and Locust streets when he stopped a VW Beetle operated by William Cook. Cook’s brother Wesley, a part time cab driver, happened to be parked nearby and, upon seeing his brother scuffling with Faulkner, decided to come to the aid of the younger Cook. Events quickly turned from a routine traffic stop to calls of shots being fired. Responding units would find Faulkner lying dead from multiple gunshots, including a near point blank shot to the head, and Wesley Cook slumped over on the curb with a bullet wound to the stomach. A Charter Arms .38 registered to Wesley would be recovered from the scene with five spent cartridges still in the cylinder. A single bullet from Faulkner’s duty weapon would be removed from Cook’s stomach wound. Eyewitnesses would describe seeing the older Cook coming to his brother’s aid and shooting Faulkner from behind and then standing over the wounded officer and delivering the fatal shot to his head before finally falling to the ground, unable to flee due to having been wounded by Faulkner before he was executed.
Cook would soon become a symbol of police oppression and gain the support of scores of Hollywood celebrities, corporate leaders and even Amnesty International – but only after he changed his name to Mumia Abu-Jamal and made himself out to be a symbol of the anti-government movement. In the decades since, Abu-Jamal has exhausted his appeals process and even petitioned unsuccessfully to have his case heard by the U.S. Supreme Court. The only legal victory Abu-Jamal has achieved is to have his original death sentence commuted to life without parole, but that has not stopped him from repeatedly being featured on talk shows, conducting interviews and even presenting the commencement address for a liberal New England college in the spring of 2014.
But what Abu-Jamal’s supporters fail to realize is the real hero of that December night is the young patrolman who died needlessly because he was simply doing his job. Daniel Faulkner was the youngest of five kids who lost his own father at the age of five. When his mother faced difficulty supporting the family, Daniel dropped out of school and enlisted in the U.S. Army, where he not only earned a high school diploma but also a degree in criminal justice. Even after joining the Philadelphia Police Department following his discharge, Faulkner was not content to stop trying and was enrolled in night classes with dreams of becoming a city prosecutor at the time of his death.
Why am I bringing up a case from over 30 years ago? Because the facts of the case are eerily similar to officer involved shootings we are seeing today across the country. With a growing distrust of the government in general, and particularly police, it is easy for people to latch onto any reason to blame police for “targeting an innocent citizen.” The media and celebrities with little actual knowledge of the incident will quickly turn the officer into a villain rather than the victim and idolize a murderer as a symbol for change.
But that is rarely the whole story.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.
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