After Assassination Attempt on Philadelphia Officer, Community Walks for Peace - NBC 10 Philadelphia

After Assassination Attempt on Philadelphia Officer, Community Walks for Peace

Protesters Rally for End to Violence in Support of Injured Officer

Protesters marched through Philadelphia Tuesday night, calling for an end to violence in the city while showing their support for officer Jesse Hartnett, who was wounded in an ambush shooting last Thursday. NBC10's Denise Nakano has the story. (Published Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016)

As soon as a gunman out for blood zeroed in on Officer Jesse Hartnett on a West Philadelphia street corner Thursday night, pumping three bullets into the young policeman's arm in a brazen attempt to kill him, Rosalind Pichardo knew she couldn't just do nothing.

The news of the violence was all too familiar to Pichardo, 38, who just marked the fourth anniversary of the murder of her brother, Alexander Martinez, 23, who was shot to death during a robbery in North Philadelphia in January 2012. Martinez's killing remains unsolved.

Rosalind Pichardo holds a picture of her brother, who was shot to death in 2012. She organized a walk for peace after last week's shooting of Officer Jesse Hartnett.
Photo credit: Rosalind Pichardo

So Pichardo planned a walk for peace to be held Tuesday night. She said the brutal assassination attempt on Hartnett made her want to bring the community together in a show of support for police.

"There has to be a point where we show our appreciation, that the community has their back," Pichardo, who runs an organization called Operation Save Our City and regularly holds walks and vigils against violence, said on Sunday.

"The response has been overwhelming," the woman added. "I've been getting a lot of reactions from the police districts ... and a lot of community leaders are also reaching out to me."

Pichardo planned a march from Broad Street and Girard Avenue for Tuesday evening.

The flier for the walk -- bearing the phrase #AllLivesMatter -- was shared widely on social media.


No greater love..... Thanks for your service Love Operation Save Our City

Posted by Roz Pichardo on Saturday, January 9, 2016

"It's always an issue about 'Black Lives Matter,' 'Blue Lives Matter,'" Pichardo said. "To me, all lives matter, and at the end of the day when a black guy or a white guy or a Spanish guy is shot, who do they call? They call the police department. I know that we have our issues with some police officers, but just like civilians, not all police officers are bad. Not all civilians are bad ... we can't put them all in that category of being evil and abusive. Enough is enough. This officer was clearly fighting for his life.

"It's a police officer. Someone who's here to protect and serve us," Pichardo continued. "If we don't stand up for them then who will?"

A group of about 30 people joined Pichardo in the march Tuesday night. They marched from Broad and Girard to City Hall carrying banners while chanting, "Stop the Violence," and "All Lives Matter." The marchers also chanted Hartnett's name.

"I know the community overall supports Officer Hartnett and the police and they support reducing crime and having peace on the streets of Philadelphia," said Philadelphia Police Captain Frank Palumbo.

Other groups who didn't take part in Tuesday's rally told NBC10 they're planning their own fundraisers and rallies for Officer Hartnett. Earlier in the day members of the city's Muslim and Arab communities held a rally in support of Philadelphia Police.