Philly Police Union Attacks Eagles Football Player for Opposing Police Brutality

Malcolm Jenkins brought the data, but the Fraternal Order of Police prefer to bully him into shutting up.


After Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins wrote an op-ed in the Philadelphia Inquirer calling for more police accountability and transparency, the local Philly police union responded by bluntly telling Jenkins to shut up.

Philadelphia is in the midst of a much-needed conversation about police reform. Mayor Jim Kenney was re-elected to another term in office earlier in the month and is now on the hunt for a new police commissioner after Richard Ross resigned in August amid reports of sexual harassment and racial discrimination within the police force.

The Philadelphia Police Department's mismanagement has led to hundreds of drug cases being dropped due to a corrupt narcotics unit, the creation of an oft-abused asset forfeiture program, and thousands of stops of mostly black drivers by officers who claim to "smell" marijuana in order to justify warrantless stop-and-frisk searches. In 2016, Philadelphia voters elected Larry Krasner, a civil rights lawyer, as the city's district attorney for the purpose of checking and balancing that oppressive policing system.

Jenkins, meanwhile, is a co-founder of the Players Coalition Task Force, a non-profit organization formed by professional athletes to call for reform in policing and criminal justice. Jenkins submitted an op-ed to the Philadelphia Inquirer that ran on Monday, calling for Kenney to select a new police commissioner who will focus on fighting corruption within the department and reforming the practices of the police to focus on real crimes that affect the community. Jenkins came loaded with stats and facts:

The last commissioner resigned amid allegations of sexual harassment. Over 300 officers posted racist and sexist social media posts. Officers remain on the force despite using physical force against vulnerable people. And rather than solving serious crimes — police here make arrests in just 47% of all murder cases and 23% of all nonfatal shootings — they are busy stopping people over the "smell" of marijuana with over 3,300 drivers in the first quarter of 2019 alone, 84% of whom were black.

He notes that the Philadelphia police's use of stop-and-frisk searches find guns just one percent of the time. He calls for the police to stop arresting children in school, and for any new commissioner to implement a "zero tolerance" policy for police misconduct and to support a citizen review board.

Here's how the Philadelphia Fraternal Order of the Police, which represents 14,000 active and retired officers, responded in a letter signed by its president, John J. McNesby:

It's amazing, but not terribly surprising, that McNesby responded to Jenkins' critique not by challenging his data, but with a personal attack against him and the Inquirer for publishing his opinion. McNesby then has the gall to complain that "Hurling slurs and false allegations against police offers nothing in the way of improvement." Yet, there are no insults in Jenkins' piece, only data and specific recommendations that could reduce violent crime and improve community relations.

Let's suggest that this one particular paragraph is what is sticking in McNesby's craw. Jenkins wants a commissioner who is not afraid of McNesby's bluster:

A commissioner who fights back against the police union. Nearly every time we hear a story of an officer abusing power, whether through violence or racist Facebook postings, the police union is there to defend the bad behavior. We need a commissioner who isn't in lockstep with the union and who will instead push back when the union tries to hide and justify bad behavior. The commissioner must also support a union contract that allows for more officer accountability, even if that is an unpopular position with the rank and file.

Data shows that hundreds of Philadelphia cops fired for bad behavior have been able to fight their way back onto the police force, thanks to union contracts. Reason noted in 2017 how one police officer managed to get back on the force after being fired for killing an unarmed man by shooting him in the back.

The police union's overheated response here indicates how little value the Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police places on developing or maintaining positive relationships with members of its own community. Second, it demonstrates how little regard Philadelphia's police union places in behaving like responsible, mature adults who will accept accountability for the power to arrest and use deadly force against citizens.

McNesby might be right about one thing, however. Given the Philadelphia Police Department's practice of planting drugs on suspects, costing the city millions in lawsuit settlements, perhaps the Inquirer should consider surveying drug dealers.

NEXT: Wanted: A Dem Presidential Candidate Who Defends Individualism, Capitalism, Non-Interventionism

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Forget it, Jakeford. It’s Filthadepthsiatown.

  2. >>much-needed conversation

    dude no. don’t be haughty.

  3. The police union’s overheated response here indicates how little value the Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police places on developing or maintaining positive relationships with members of its own community.

    It’s almost like a Union’s purpose is… to provide protection to its members.

    1. Which is why we need to revisit the special status provided to unions in our labor laws. And, eliminate union representation for public employees altogether.

    2. ****It’s almost like a Union’s purpose is… to provide protection to its members.

      No, it’s not. A union’s purpose is collective bargaining against the oppressive capitalists that need labor to realize the value of their capital. The only “protection” organizations are, um, the police and la cosa nostra.

  4. Alternate headline: Philly Police Union writes ridiculous email and everyone laughs.

  5. Vince DeBlasis @vince_deblasis
    Replying to @FOPLodge5 and @john_mcnesby
    Awesome response John! They all have the answers and can not manage their own lives! Let him ride 4×12 in East lets see what he says then when he sees what our Brothers and Sisters do EVERYDAY!!!! God Bless Our Police and All First Responders!!!!!

    Well, the FOP has at least one fan. And that’s good enough for them.

  6. The cops aren’t all that fond of the DA, either.

  7. We here at the Philadelphia FOP take police misconduct seriously.
    We were taken aback by Malcom Jenkins’ statement calling for police accountability, and we’ll beat the hell out of him if we ever see him.

  8. You know, Philly is 45% black, I’d be interested to see a breakdown of the crime there along racial lines. If the majority of crimes are in poor neighborhoods and the majority of poor neighborhoods belong to minorities, it would be interesting to see how far off that 84% statistic of arrestees being black is from the comparative crime stats. The cops are definitely in the wrong here and are corrupt as hell, but that doesn’t mean that Jenkin’s data is accurate either

    1. Data is just data. It proves nothing.

      Until a hypothesis for such data is promulgated and, tested using the scientific method, and a proven cause and effect emerges, there is just data.

      Correlation DOES not equal causation.

      We need more STEM type programs in education.

    2. Read the line again. The 84% is not those being arrested, it’s those being stopped with the claim that the cop smells marijuana.

      1. Sorry, that was supposed to be a reply to darkflame.

  9. Let’s be careful with the language there, Scott – the Philly Police Union “attacking” Malcolm Jenkins is nothing at all like the Philly Police Department attacking Malcolm Jenkins. Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me, which is why the Philly PD actually uses sticks when they attack somebody instead of pussy-footing around with mere words.

  10. Shooting violence continues to rise in Philly as it tries to overtake cities such as Chicago and Baltimore. Neighborhood residents demand police action. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if said residents aren’t close to demanding the cops stop and frisk all young men walking the streets. That will be great theater: white liberal Democrats against fed-up black Democrats.

    1. If only there was a party dedicated to freedom and civil rights that could help those folks organize and express their grievances at the ballot box . . .

  11. Dallas doesn’t have a brutality problem bc we have no police. Go Cowboys.

  12. When their legs slow down, their mouths speed up.

    1. Cops or football players?

  13. From what I hear about their retarded DA, I might have been sympathetic to pro-Philly-cop propaganda (copaganda?). But a letter like this union officials’ letter doesn’t convince me that we can trust an unreformed police dept to carry out the fight on crime – instead it suggests to me that they’re accustomed to getting their way through threats and bluster, not rational argument. Which confirms rather than rebutting the accusations against the police.

  14. Every time cops go on record in written form they embarrass themselves as sub-literate retards without reasoning skills and self-awareness.

    1. Gee. Since, (at least in Cali) cop pay and benefits are beyond compare, should we at least have a basic educational requirement for recruitment purposes?

      Maybe 4 year college degrees like virtually ever other profession at these compensation level requires?

      No, this wouldn’t be a perfect solution. But, it might be a really good start.

  15. Huh. Fuck the police.

  16. Dr. Evil: Rrrright.

    Not a good response.

    Makes me wonder if police engage in incest like monarchies of old. It’s like they have long chins, water in the heads and clubbed feet. Jesus, get someone who at least isn’t mildly retarded to write responses for police unions.

  17. As an Eagles fan, all I can say is save your ire for Nelson ‘KY Hands’ Agholor.

    The Eagles also have a bad case of fumblitis.

    1. dude only catches the ball when he’s already out of bounds.

  18. Cops are evil.

  19. Is this at all surprising? The job of a union, after all, is to protect the right of their members to be completely incompetent at their jobs, but still get to keep them.

    1. I am referring especially to public employee unions here

    2. And, don’t forget, reward seniority above all else. Especially proven competence!

  20. “who isn’t in lockstep with the union”

    Show me a local pol who isn’t in lockstep with the police and firefighter’s unions and I’ll show you a loosing candidate.

    But then again, I’m in CA. Land of the absolute non-thinking public. Where police and firefighters are observed only through rose colored glasses. Despite what facts might show.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.