Saturday, October 9, 2010

John McNesby Is Why Philadelphia Police Are Broken

It's been a week full of stories about the corruption of Philadelphia police, but none of that disturbed me half as much as this story about an escape attempt by accused cop killer Rasheed Scrugs.

Here's John McNesby, president of the Fraternal Order of Police:

John McNesby, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5, said Scrugs "started to ramp up his antics" earlier this week when he indicated that he didn't want to appear in court.

"He's a savage," McNesby said. "They should have finished him off on the street. Now we have to deal with antics."

I'm just astonished. Not that McNesby would feel that way, but that he -- as one of the highest-profile cops in the city of Philadelphia -- would feel comfortable publicly advocating that police commit street executions in lieu of letting the justice system work. It's horrifying: I have to live in a city full of cops he's encouraging to behave that way.

Thanks to McNesby, of course, Philadelphia cops don't have to live in this city. And though there are frequent stories in this city's media, you generally don't ever hear McNesby decrying corruption in the ranks -- he's usually attacking, even threatening to sue, the Daily News for exposing that corruption.

This surely can't be an easy city to police. There have been more cop killings in the two years I've lived here than I would've thought possible. But the relationship between Philadelphia police and its citizens appears to be broken -- and a good chunk of that is the fault of police. I can't help but think John McNesby, who openly calls for police to circumvent the law and execute suspects, is a very big part of the problem.

* UPDATE: A friend -- uncharitably, I think -- interprets my last paragraph to mean I believe that police have brought cop-killings upon themselves. I do not believe that, I repudiate that idea, and I did not intend to convey it. I included that sentence to convey that I understand that policing Philly is difficult; that doesn't justify the attitude, exemplified by McNesby, that the police are better than the community they deserve, nor that they're entitled to administer justice outside the bounds of the law.


KhabaLox said...

I know it's just fiction, but I have about 4 or 5 episodes to watch in the final season of The Wire and I think it has a lot of interesting things about policing a difficult city. I don't know how realistic the story of Detective-cum-Sergeant Carver is, but that's who I want my cops to emulate.

Anonymous said...

I'm not suprised by McNesby's comment regarding taking care of him in the streets. You are speaking of the man who said "they should have tasered the kids parents too" when the kid ran on the field at the phillies game. We should also remember his antagonism towards the NAACP, when they reinstated the cops who were videotaped beating the crap out of some guys, in the middle of the street. He's supposed to be an advocate for the police and look out for their best interest, which doesn't always jive up with the publics.