Mayor John Street apologized to the widow of a slain police officer for an official city meeting with two French politicians that turned into an impromptu rally for man convicted of killing her husband.
In a private phone call, Maureen Faulkner said Street told her he believes Mumia Abu-Jamal murdered her husband, Daniel Faulkner, in 1981 and was sentenced appropriately.
Abu-Jamal was sentenced to death in 1982 and his prison writings and taped speeches made his case a cause celebre among Hollywood activists, foreign politicians and some death-penalty opponents. A federal judge in 2001 overturned Abu-Jamal’s death sentence but upheld his conviction and said he should be resentenced to life in prison or be given a new sentencing hearing.
A city councilman from Paris and a deputy mayor from Saint Denis, France, had been scheduled for a private meeting with two Street staffers Friday where they were greeted and given two small replica Liberty Bells.
But the French politicians showed up with about 150 sign-waving protesters who had just marched around City Hall chanting Abu-Jamal’s name. Street’s staff said they consulted with police before deciding to allow the protesters into the mayor’s reception room.
“They were here to make their voices very clear to free Mumia Abu-Jamal,” Faulkner said. “When that was going on, right then and there, it should have been shut down.”