On Monday, Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins wrote an op-ed in the Philadelphia Inquirer calling for a culture shift in the city’s police department while urging Mayor Jim Kenney to impact “massive change” with his selection of the next police commissioner.
Among the multiple criteria Jenkins laid out in his opinion piece was a call for “a commissioner who fights back against the police union.”
From Jenkins’ op-ed:
Nearly every time we hear a story of an officer abusing power, whether through violence or racist Facebook postings, the police union is there to defend the bad behavior. We need a commissioner who isn’t in lockstep with the union and who will instead push back when the union tries to hide and justify bad behavior.
Police union chastises ‘washed-up football player’
Philadelphia police union president John McNesby responded with an attack on the Inquirer for publishing the commentary of a “washed-up football player” whom he likened to a drug dealer in a paper people use to “train their puppies.”
McNesby didn’t share these thoughts in private, with like-minded company only to see them leaked to the media. He published them for all to see on Tuesday on the Twitter page of the Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #5.
— FOPLodge5 (@FOPLodge5) November 19, 2019
Here’s the full copy of the letter:
To the editor,
Every time I think that the Inquirer cannot sink any lower in integrity and professionalism, they prove me wrong. They go lower still.
Sponsoring a racist attack by a non-resident washed up football player and trying to disguise it as a commentary on police in Philadelphia shows why the only people who still subscribe to your paper are those who use it to paper train their puppies.
Hurling slurs and false allegations against police officers offers nothing in the way of improvement. Like other has been football players, they now do most of their running with their mouths.
This character’s “proposals” would leave Philadelphia’s many crime victims as defenseless as his poor play has left his football team.
Only the Inquirer would offer Malcolm Jenkins to tackle crime, when he can’t even manage to tackle his own opponents.
What is the Inquirer’s next plan, a survey of drug dealers?
John J McNesby, President
Philadelphia, Lodge #5
Fraternal Order of Police
Jenkins called for reduced violence, accountability
Among the suggestions that McNesby apparently took issue with in Jenkins’ op-ed were calls for a reduction in minor drug arrests and an end to stop-and-frisk procedures that disproportionally impact people of color alongside a push to dedicate more resources to solving violent crimes.
He also called for an increase in accountability for police officers who engage in physical violence during arrests and have a history of targeting people of color or displaying racist behavior.
Jenkins wrote not only from his role as a Philadelphia sports figure, but as a founding member of the Player’s Coalition, a group of NFL players with the stated goal of “making an impact on social justice and racial equality at the federal, state and local levels.”
McNesby — who once referred to Black Lives Matters activists as a “pack of rabid animals” — responded by labeling Jenkins’ op-ed as a “racist attack” while suggesting that an opinion piece written by a black athlete is tantamount to a “survey of drug dealers.”
He also attempted to discredit the voice of Jenkins in regard to local issues for being a “non-resident.”
McNesby fought for and won a contract in 2009 that abolished a residency requirement that police officers live in the city of Philadelphia. He touted the contract as one of his biggest accomplishments, according to the Inquirer.
Mayor backs Jenkins
Kenney responded to the controversy with support for Jenkins on Tuesday night.
“He has every right to give us some direction and make suggestions, and we’ve been listening to the community the whole time,” he said.
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