Police union questions DA's policies after its spokeswoman tweets 'racist comment'

Mike DeNardo
October 09, 2019 - 4:51 pm
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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The head of the Philadelphia police union has formally confronted the district attorney over his spokeswoman's since-deleted tweet, which some argue is racially charged.

On Oct. 4, Jane Roh, the DA's communications director, tweeted an Inquirer photo portraying a rally of people who are critics of DA Larry Krasner. But some argue she crossed the line with her caption.

The picture shows mostly white faces in a crowd of supporters of Maureen Faulkner, the widow of murdered Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner.  

Roh tweeted, “There’s something about this picture, can’t qwhite put my finger on it.”

screenshot via Twitter

screenshot via Twitter

The tweet was taken down Monday after Philadelphia Magazine posted a story saying Maureen Faulkner was outraged by it.

On Wednesday, Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5 President John McNesby sent a letter specifically to Krasner, asking if her "arbitrary comment" was made from a city phone, and whether Krasner condoned the post.

"At best her post was just a racist comment about the people in the picture but in reality it was much worse in that it accused those in the picture of being racist," read part of the letter. 

McNesby said the Faulkner supporters in the photo are mainly of an older demographic because they were Faulkner's "contemporaries" who "have been there every step of the way," dating back more than 35 years.

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McNesby noted that more than a dozen Philadelphia police officers were fired or resigned this summer over racist and offensive Facebook posts.

"We had a number of officers disciplined and even fired a few months back for the same type of behavior. And my question is, is there two sets of rules here?" he asked.

According to the social media policy for the District Attorney's Office, "employees act, and are perceived to act by the public we serve, in a fair, just, and unbiased manner."  

The policy also states that employees should not "use social media to comment on the conduct or character of any person, including but not limited to a defendant, victim, witness, attorney, or judge," and employees should "use official time in an honest effort to perform official duties."

Maureen Faulkner criticized Krasner directly last week, saying he should recuse himself from ongoing appeal efforts made by the man convicted of killing her husband: Mumia Abu-Jamal. She claims Krasner has lied to her time and again, and says he has conflicts of interest in the case.

Roh, when reached by KYW Newsradio, had no comment. At a news conference Wednesday afternoon on another issue, Krasner did not comment on the matter involving Roh either.

McNesby says Krasner hasn't responded to his letter.