The Fraternal Order of Police blasted the Barbera's on the Boulevard car dealership Monday for using photos of fallen officers in a recent billboard campaign.
On Friday, FOP President John McNesby said he began receiving calls that Barbera's was using the photos of the officers and the Philadelphia Police Department and FOP emblems in its billboard advertisements.
"Somebody called me and said 'What are we doing?' " McNesby said. "So, I rolled out there and when I looked, I just couldn't believe what I saw."
The billboards, one of which was spotted at Ashburner Street near Torresdale Avenue in Holmesburg today, read: "We will always remember because Barbera cares."
Underneath are the photos of officers Charles Cassidy, Isabel Nazario and John Pawlowski and sergeants Patrick McDonald, Timothy Simpson and Stephen Liczbinski, all of whom died on duty between 2007 and 2009. Also included are the dates of the officers' deaths and the manner in which they died.
The billboard tells readers to "Make donations to the FOP survivors fund."
McNesby said no one from Barbera's contacted the FOP about the billboards beforehand and Barbera has "never donated one dime" to the FOP's Survivors Fund.
"We don't use our families for stuff like that, it's unheard of, it's outrageous," McNesby said. "We don't use our families as pawns in anything."
McNesby said that he heard there were as many as 40 of the billboards throughout the city, but Gene Barbera, sales manager at Barbera's, said there were only four or five billboards and that all would be down by 6 p.m. tonight.
"I offer my apologies to anyone that misunderstood our intentions," he said. "It wasn't meant to be anything but a salute."