Philadelphia, PA – Larry Krasner, the notoriously anti-police district attorney of Philadelphia, has defended staff members who covered up the wall honoring local fallen police heroes on Friday, claiming his office did “what is legally required.”
The controversy erupted after former WPVI anchor Mike Neilon tweeted a picture on Feb. 19 of the Wall of Remembrance at the District Attorney’s Office covered up by a sheet.
“This is a disgrace. @DA_LarryKrasner @philadao disrespecting our @PhillyPolice heroes killed in the line of duty. Shameful that these officers are not honored. Take down media props. Another reason he must go,” Neilon wrote.
He also tagged the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) and the union’s president, John McNesby.
The district attorney’s communications director, Jane Roh, hit back within an hour, claiming the DA’s office was “legally required” to cover the wall honoring Philadelphia police officers who gave their lives in the line of duty serving and protecting the city.
“Mike, you well know that the emergency of the pandemic has required different spaces in this city to be used for specialized purposes,” Roh tweeted. “We are legally required to cover the Wall of Remembrance when this room is used for certain purposes. *We* follow the law.”
Mike, you well know that the emergency of the pandemic has required different spaces in this city to be used for specialized purposes. We are legally required to cover the Wall of Remembrance when this room is used for certain purposes. *We* follow the law. https://t.co/CjMqucUJat
— Jane Roh (노진이) (@Jane_Roh) February 19, 2021
But the union president said the DA’s office should have chosen a different room to hold any activity that required dishonoring fallen heroes in that manner, KYW reported.
“It was disappointing,” McNesby said.
The Wall of Remembrance was dedicated while Lynne Abraham was district attorney in 2009, KYW reported.
Abraham said that the DA’s office covering up the wall showed that Krasner didn’t care about police officers or victims.
Krasner pushed back against those allegations on Monday and reiterated what Roh had said about being required by law to cover up the Wall of Remembrance, KYW reported.
The district attorney claimed he couldn’t legally explain why his office had covered up the police memorial wall.
“I have to make sure that my answers do not violate the law, that they are not immoral, that they do not endanger,” Krasner said.
There was speculation the room had been used to convene a grand jury, KYW.
“He’s citing a law. He’s hiding behind the grand jury stuff, I understand that. But you don’t cover that. If that is the case, you do it somewhere else,” the police union president said.
Roh then responded to the tweet of the picture with the word “unlike” and links to negative news stories about Philadelphia police officers, KYW reported.
That move was enough to draw the ire of Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw, KYW reported.
“A simple ‘it was temporary’ would have sufficed,” Commissioner Outlaw tweeted Roh.
Philadelphia City Councilmember David Oh has demanded answers from the District Attorney’s Office as to why the memorial wall was covered up, KYW reported.
“Please provide, in writing, which law, would be broken by leaving the memorial uncovered,” Oh wrote in a letter to Krasner’s office.
“I find it unacceptable that is not being answered,” Oh told KYW.
Krasner told KYW that he didn’t regret his office covering up the police memorial wall.
“I do not regret doing what is legally required,” Krasner replied. “I do think it’s unfortunate that there are some people who see the Wall of Remembrance as a political tool.”
Then he revealed that he had decided he was going to move the police memorial wall after talking with the police commissioner about it over the weekend, KYW reported.
The district attorney has not said where he planned to move the wall honoring fallen local police heroes.