Jennifer Lin, Philadelphia Inquirer, May 16, 2006
As Philadelphians cope with another police slaying, news comes that a suburb of Paris has named a street for Mumia Abu-Jamal, convicted of the 1981 murder of Police Officer Daniel Faulkner.
Hundreds of supporters of Abu-Jamal attended a ceremony on April 29 to dedicate the Rue Mumia-Abu Jamal in the city of St.-Denis.
“In France, they see him as a towering figure,” said Suzanne Ross, cochair of the Free Mumia Coalition of New York City, who was part of the ceremony.
Ross said the street is in the town’s Human Rights district, which includes Nelson Mandela Stadium.
Richard Costello, past president of the Philadelphia lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police, said the street dedication was “deplorable” but “consistent with the offensive position the French have taken in this matter. They’ve made him into some type of hero.”
Abu-Jamal, 53, was sentenced to death in 1982 for the shooting of Faulkner, who was 25. A memorial plaque honoring Faulkner has been installed at 13th and Locust Streets, where he was shot.
Abu-Jamal, a former Philadelphia journalist, Black Panther member, and critic of police brutality, has maintained his innocence.
When notified of the French dedication, Maureen Faulkner, widow of the victim, called it “disgusting.”
“This is so unnerving for me to get this news,” Faulkner said from Los Angeles, where she lives. “It’s insulting to the police officers of Philadelphia that they are naming a street after a murderer.”