Feb 18, 2009 8:49 am US/Eastern
PHILADELPHIA (CBS 3) ―
Members of the Philadelphia Police Department are outraged after a judge turned this picture of Officer John Pawlowski over.
A Philadelphia judge is under fire for turning over a photo of slain Officer John Pawlowski and calling the photo “inappropriate” at the time.
Judge Craig Washington called the photo of Officer John Pawlowski a “distraction” and turned the photo over inside the 35th Police District courtroom.
The picture was placed in the 35th District’s role call room which also doubles as a municipal courtroom.
Judge Washington said he could not be impartial with the picture on his bench.
When confronted by members of the Fraternal Order of Police, Judge Washington explained “it can’t be on the bench when we’re doing other hearings when that case is not before us.”
During a confrontation caught on tape by CBS3 cameras, a member of the 35th Police District told Judge Washington “this is our house, this is our house, you can’t touch our furniture, this is our memorial for our officer.”
Former FOP President Rich Costello was also present during the altercation and questioned Washington’s action.
“What is improper about a photograph of a slain police officer? You’re saying that’s improper,” Costello said to Judge Washington during the confrontation.
“And to have the picture taken down less than a week before the officer’s even buried shows insensitivity to an extreme degree, we want him removed from the bench pending a full investigation,” Costello said.
Captain John McCloskey of the 35th Police District, Officer Pawlowski’s district, is outraged.
“I just can’t believe that he would do that less than four days after we lost John,” Capt. McCloskey said. “And to take his picture and put it down after he left my office, I denied his request to have the picture removed, he just came right down and turned the picture upside down.”