Chances are, you don’t know the name Maureen Faulkner, or that of her husband, Danny. You might, however, recognize Mumia Abu-Jamal, the man convicted of killing Officer Daniel Faulkner, in December of 1981. The following year, Abu-Jamal was sentenced to die.
The case was in the news, once again, when President Obama nominated Debo Adegbile to head the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. Adegbile defended Abu-Jamal in one of the countless appeals of his conviction, one of which overturned his death sentence. This is what attorneys do, and what our system requires. I’ll leave the particulars to others.
One could debate the judgment of a President who sets his Party against the Fraternal Order of Police. Isn’t this the year for that? One might point out the arrogance of putting up a questionable nominee who fails, despite his Party’s recent reworking of the filibuster, a political act specifically designed to prevent something like this. One could also talk about the racial impasse between Left and Right, and how this case plays into it. My thoughts are with Mrs Faulkner.
There’s always a certain amount of press coverage, as befits a fallen police officer. Mostly local, some national, it provides a brief glimpse into how the press operates. Those (preferably) few memories can last a lifetime. The coverage mostly occurs after the incident (obviously), at the funeral, and specific occasions to follow..generally the trial and anniversaries. It’s manageable but tiring, even in a low-profile case.
Try to imagine being Mrs Faulkner. I can, more than most. Your husband dies, such a short time after marriage. Perhaps not long enough to consider, let alone have a child. A short time can contain much regret. The suspect is caught and convicted, in fairly short order. As terrible as your story is, at least that part of it is over. You can move on, maybe find a second life. But not if you’re Maureen Faulkner. For her, this case is a story with no end.
We’ve all had losses. We’ve all known the pain that subsides, but never quite leaves. Some of us are lucky to have found someone to live with that memory. I can only hope the same for Maureen.