Philadelphia’s police union on Wednesday assailed as “racist" a tweet that District Attorney Larry Krasner’s spokesperson posted last week mocking a predominantly white crowd of police supporters protesting Krasner’s role in handling the appeal of convicted cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal.
At issue is a message Krasner spokesperson Jane Roh tweeted in response to a protest led by the Fraternal Order of Police and Maureen Faulkner, the widow of Police Officer Daniel Faulkner, who was fatally shot by Abu-Jamal in 1981. At the rally, Faulkner demanded that Krasner recuse himself and his office from appeals filed by Abu-Jamal, a former Black Panther who was convicted of first-degree murder in the officer’s killing.
Faulkner accused Krasner of having conflicts of interest in the case, “rolling over on appeals,” and telling her “numerous lies and half-truths” since he took office in January 2018.
After The Inquirer posted an article about the rally Friday, along with a photo showing some attendees, Roh on Friday afternoon reposted The Inquirer photo on Twitter and commented:
“There’s something about this picture, can’t qwhite put my finger on it.......”
Most of the nearly 20 people shown in the photo were white.
Two minutes after her first post, Roh, who is Asian American, tweeted: “did everybody go to Denny’s after.” The restaurant chain has faced past allegations of racism, although Roh didn’t explain why she cited it.
Mirroring some of the pushback on Twitter, the Philadelphia FOP Lodge 5 on Wednesday hand-delivered a letter addressed to Krasner to the District Attorney’s Office and to Mayor Jim Kenney’s office assailing Roh’s tweet.
“At best her post was just a racist comment about the people in the picture," FOP president John McNesby said, "but in reality it was much worse in that it accused those in the picture of being racist.”
Roh’s tweets have since been deleted.
Philadelphia Magazine, which noted that the tweets had attracted more than 100 mostly negative comments, wrote on Monday that Maureen Faulkner was outraged by Roh’s tweets and said, “She should lose her job.”
In one screenshot, Roh’s tweet had garnered 51 “likes.”
McNesby’s letter also asked Krasner if Roh’s post was made from a city-provided or -funded phone, if it was made while Roh was working in her official capacity, and if it was a violation of the office’s social media policy.
McNesby also asked Krasner if he condoned Roh’s post, adding: “I also assume you recognize that the social media post was racist or it would have not since been taken down from Twitter.”
Roh, who on June 10 took over the job as Krasner’s primary media liaison, did not comment Wednesday.
At an unrelated news conference Wednesday afternoon, an NBC10 reporter asked Krasner if he wanted to comment on the FOP’s letter, but the district attorney ended the news briefing without commenting. Roh, who was nearby, also left without commenting.