By Susana Jurado
PHILADELPHIA, U.S. – District Attorney Jack Krasner issued a statement that expressed his disdain and disappointment for the Fraternal Order of Police headquarters in Philadelphia, which, on Thursday, July 9, 2020, hosted a party where a number of about 10 or so Proud Boys members—a widely known hate group—were in attendance.
They were seen socializing among union member police officers in the Philadelphia FOP headquarters, an exclusive area for union police members only. That day, Proud Boys members were seen with t-shirts, baseball caps that promoted the organization’s name and a flag with the logo, colors, and design of the hate group.
The Philadelphia Union President, John McNesby, put out a statement that he did not condone hatred at all and did admit to not extending a formal invitation to the Proud Boys members who attended.
When questioned about the presence of the group at the event, the police union president said: “We oppose hate in any form. Under no circumstances were individuals associated with the Proud Boys invited to attend.”
Yet, no report was found that indicated that he or any other FOP leader asked the uninvited guests to leave the premises. No such confrontation was reported, even after Proud Boys members were seen combatively questioning reporters who were trying to take their pictures, giving one reporter intimidating remarks such that she was “heading down a dangerous road.”
Police officers responded by asking if the Proud Boys were OK, and even asked the same reporters for their credentials, leaving the matter in the hands of the Proud Boys.
Deanna Gamble, a spokesperson for Mayor James Kenney, said “the scene the reporters described was troubling and that Kenney was looking into the matter.”
Afterward, the Proud Boys members were still found promoting hate as DA Krasner states, “The Proud Boys followed up with offensive, misogynist social media ridiculing one of the journalists.”
Union President McNesby has a history of being vocal about the Black Lives Matter movement.
In September 2017, he described protesters as a “pack of rabid animals” and a “racist hate group determined to instigate violence” as they rallied outside a police officer’s home after a civilian was fatally shot by that same police officer.
Law enforcement members who are open to Proud Boys beliefs are found to have close ties with their members.
Krasner provided some remarks about the issue, stating, “No police union leadership should use or tolerate the hate group playbook…But that was exactly on display in Philadelphia last week, as the Philly FOP’s leadership embraced the Trump administration to the Proud Boys’ cheers.”
He said the “acceptance of ‘The Proud Boys’ among union officers threatens the reputation of law enforcement in the City and brings to question the leadership of the police union in Philadelphia, especially during these times of tension between police brutality and racial injustice,” adding that by “allowing the presence of this hate group to stay at this critical event, by merely standing by, FOP union leaders give a bad name to all police officers especially those who prefer to separate themselves from all that hate.
“The FOP leadership’s conduct with the Proud Boys is a slap in the face of every active and retired police officer in Philadelphia who rejects hate and abuse of power in its many forms, including racism, sexism, homophobia, and brutality,” he added.
Diverse police officers who want to see some changes in the Philadelphia Police Department are hoping to ease tensions with their communities with new rules under a new Philadelphia Police Commissioner, Danielle Outlaw. Krasner said that “…police officers under their new Commissioner are trying to earn back the trust of the communities they serve in this diverse city…”
“What I’m looking for in a commissioner is a boss that identifies with the working personnel,” remarked Philadelphia Lt. Myesha Massey. “Anybody who can actually relate to us because with policing, we’re one big family and that’s essential. And it’s also important that we feel like a family so that we can send that same love and affection out to the community.”
She said that the newly represented police officers do not want to be associated with problematic police misconduct, and disagree with the grounds to keep unionized leadership that stays quiet around groups that advertise hate.
“Unlike the strangely quiet FOP leadership, the rest of us need to say it loudly and say it together: the Proud Boys are a hate group, and we reject their values in Philadelphia,” Krasner said, noting that the silence among the FOP leadership “disqualifies them from leadership.”
DA Krasner urged the public to come together to speak up about the hate Proud Boys embodies, adding, “Every leader in Philadelphia should speak out to reject their hate and to reject quiet complicity with that hate by anyone. Every leader who stays quiet betrays the good people they serve, the ones who put them in power.”
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