Myth # 8

Leonard Weinglass states in his article, “The Trial of Mumia Abu Jamal”, “Mumia arrived at the scene only moments after the officer had pummeled his brother with his flashlight.” According to this myth, Jamal was coming to the aid of his brother who, while handcuffed, was being brutally beaten by Officer Faulkner.



Several eyewitnesses testified that it was William Cook who initiated an unprovoked attack on Officer Faulkner by striking him in the face. These eyewitnesses stated that, having been punched in the face, Faulkner acted to subdue Cook by striking him “no more than three times” on the shoulders with a black object, which could have been a nightstick, blackjack or a flashlight.
Cook himself has never alleged that he was “pummeled” by Faulkner. As a matter of fact, Cook pleaded guilty to assaulting Officer Faulkner.



In 1982 William Cook entered a guilty plea to the charge of physically assaulting Officer Daniel Faulkner on December 9, 1981.

Several witnesses to the murder of Officer Faulkner have all testified that they saw William Cook initiate his attack on Officer Faulkner prior to the officer ever touching him.
Michael Scanlan, who witnessed the entire course of events, stated:

“They were talking, the black man [Cook] spread-eagle in front of the car, and while he was spread-eagle he swung around and struck the officer in the face with his fist. At that point, the officer reacted, trying to subdue the gentleman [Cook], and during that time another man came running from a parking lot across the street towards the officer and the gentleman in front of the car.”
N.T. 6/25/82, 8.6

The man Scanlan saw “running from the parking lot,” who shot Officer Faulkner in the back, was identified at the scene by several other eyewitnesses. He was Mumia Abu-Jamal.
In fact, there was no brutal beating. Nor did Officer Faulkner “pummel” William Cook, as Mr. Weinglass suggests:

Jackson: “Then he hit the man [Cook] several times?”

Scanlan: “A couple of times on the shoulders.”

Jackson: “Two or three times?”

Scanlan: “Three at the most.”

Jackson: “And you are saying for certain that you know it was in the shoulder area?”

Scanlan: “Between the shoulders, the neck and the arm.”

Jackson: “How about the ear?”

Scanlan: “I can’t say for sure.”

Jackson: “These blows that the officer struck, were they right in succession or was there time in between each of them?”

Scanlan: “They were in succession.”
(6-25-82, T.R. 8.25)

At the crime scene, William Cook was treated for a cut on his ear so minor that there was no need to take him to the hospital.

There is no doubt that Faulkner struck Cook, but he did so only after Cook struck the first blow. There is absolutely no evidence of Faulkner “brutally beating” or “pummeling” Cook, and Cook has never claimed that he was being “brutally beaten” or “pummeled” by Faulkner.

Pictures taken on the morning of the killing of Cook’s injured ear were introduced into evidence at trial:

McGill: “Have you reviewed those exhibits?”

Detective Thomas: “Yes, sir.”

McGill: “Can you identify them?”

Detective Thomas: “Yes, Sir. These are the photographs taken of Mr. William Cook on December 9, 1981.”

McGill: “Do they show any injuries of Mr. Cook?”

Detective Thomas: “Yes. They show a cut behind the left ear.”

McGill: “You observed Mr. Cook, didn’t you. At close range?”

Detective Thomas: “Yes, sir, I did.”

McGill: “Did you observe, other than that cut, any other injuries?”

Detective Thomas: “No, sir, I didn’t.”

McGill: “Did Mr. Cook make any complaints about any other injuries?”

Detective Thomas: “No, sir, he didn’t.”

McGill: “As a matter of fact, did he ever make a complaint regarding that injury [to his ear]?”
Detective Thomas: “No, sir. I asked him did he want to be treated for it and he said no.”

N.T. 6/26/82, 118-19

Once again Jamal’s attorneys misrepresent the record. But this time their misrepresentation has nothing to do with Jamal’s supposed claim of innocence (his lawyers, remember, claim that some mysterious running figure did it); rather, its sole purpose is to vilify the police officer that Jamal murdered. Thus, it perfectly reflects Jamal’s own often-expressed hatred of the police.
To that extent, this myth ironically tends to defeat the purpose of Jamal’s lawyers. Their very act of falsely attempting to smear Officer Faulkner says far more about Jamal’s motive for the murder — his hatred of the police — than it does about his victim.

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Without the support of Justice for Police Officer Daniel Faulkner, the Faulkner family – and specifically Maureen – could not afford to keep up the vigilant fight.