The head of the city's police union today called for a municipal court judge to be dismissed after the judge ordered two pictures of John Pawlowski, the 25-year-old police officer killed Friday, be removed from his courtroom.
In early afternoon, Municipal Court Judge Craig M. Washington sought to have the pictures of Pawlowski taken off his courtroom bench in the 35th District police station. District official denied that order, and Washington stepped down from the bench and placed both pictures face down on the table where they stood.
At a hastily called press conference about 90 minutes later, Fraternal Order of Police President John J. McNesby demanded that Washinton be removed from the judicial hearing list at the station pending an investigation. He also urged that all court hearings be suspended in the 35th District until an investigation is completed.
Washington could not be reached for comment.
Through a spokesperson, President Judge Marsha Neifield said afterward that Washington would not be in the 35th District for the rest of the week, but that municipal court hearings in the district would not be suspended.
"We have to take a deep breath and review the situation....It's too early to know if he will be back," said the spokesperson, Jeff Jubelirer.
In a prepared statement, Neifield said: "All of us are deeply saddened about the tragic loss of Officer Pawlowski. Our thoughts and prayers are foremost with Officer Pawlowski's family, friends and his police colleagues. We understand why emotions are running high."
A career criminal, Rasheed Scruggs, 33, has been charged with murder in the slaying of Pawlowski, who was shot when he intervened in an argument between Scruggs and a hack cab driver.