During a traffic stop, Faulkner was trying to handcuff Abu-Jamal's brother, when Abu-Jamal shot the officer in the back. Faulkner fell, got out his own firearm and shot Abu-Jamal in the chest. Abu-Jamal then stood over Faulkner and fired four shots at the officer.
Abu-Jamal had been president of the city's black journalist organization, and was credited with giving voice to the voiceless.
Supporters of Abu-Jamal, part of the "Free Mumia" movement, argue that he was not given a fair trial and shouldn't be executed. In prison, he has published several books, and a road in France has been named in his honor.