The 14,500 members of the Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police were profoundly saddened by the jury's decision in the Walter Barclay case. We are now dumbstruck that The Inquirer has taken an editorial stance that William Barnes should not be punished further and deserves to move freely in society ("Barnes has already served his time," Thursday). We stand united in the belief that Barnes' course of conduct in 1966 set in motion the mechanism of Officer Barclay's death.
It is clear that the jury, and apparently now the print media, were beguiled by the tactics of Barnes' defense. We have not been so duped. Barnes, a "lifelong petty criminal"? Hardly; he is a career criminal. Barnes was paroled and did not serve his full sentence when he was convicted for shooting Officer Barclay. It is not made up that Barnes' substantial criminal history of other convictions and parole violations have generated additional prison time and back time. Barnes committed these recent parole violations - possession of a cell phone and car keys - when he was taken into custody in 2007 for the murder of Officer Barclay. By all accounts, Barnes was in his 70s.
Your stance is ill-advised and uninformed, and should be reconsidered. We wish you had been as interested in the horrors of Officer Barclay's life in the 41 years since he was cowardly and callously shot by Barnes as you are now interested in the "sickly old man" that you believe Barnes has become. That being said, we take comfort in knowing the District Attorney's Office will protect all of the citizens of Philadelphia by trying to keep career criminal Barnes in custody, and that the judges who hear these matters will follow the law.
President, Philadelphia Lodge 5
Fraternal Order of Police