Judge: Slain Officer's Photo Inappropriate for Court

There is outrage at the 35th police district in Philadelphia -- the district where fallen Officer John Pawlowski served. 

Officers in the 35th say Municipal Judge Craig Washington held court for two hours and deemed photos and flowers left in Pawlowski's memory as inappropriate for court.

The judge asked the captain if the items could be removed but the request was denied, officers and the district captain told NBC 10 News.

Judge Washington chose to turn the picture over on its side on his own, according to officers.

One officer told NBC 10 that Judge Washington's actions were disrespectful to Pawlowski who died just four days ago and the officers who are still grieving his death.

"We don't have the time that everyone else gets when you loose somebody. You can just take time off from work and grieve and we have to go right back out there the next day," Officer Blanca Rodriquez told NBC10's Deanna Durante Tuesday.

35th District Captain John McClosky said the judge should have known better.

"He's a judge and he should know. I'm sure he should know what's going on in the city, but obviously I don't think he has a clue...," McClosky said. "He's probably a reason why the city is like this with so many repeat offenders being out there."

The F.O.P. called the incident a "disgrace" to all police officers and their families.

Attempts to reach the judge for comment have not been successful.

Municipal Court President Judge Marsha Neifield did however release the following statement:

"All of us are deeply saddened about the tragic loss of Officer Pawlowski. Our thoughts and prayers are foremost with Officer Pawlowski’s family, friends and his police colleagues. We understand why emotions are running high."

"The 35th District police headquarters serves as an official courtroom for preliminary hearings three days a week. Although the hearings are held at the police station, they must be treated like hearings held in any other official courtroom in the City of Philadelphia. As such, photographs are not permitted directly on the bench when Court is in session.  While photographs placed in other locations are permitted, the Courtroom must avoid any appearance of bias."

At this time, Judge Washington won't be presiding at the 35th District for the rest of the week. Judge Washington wasn't scheduled there for the remainder of the week, according to the President Judge Office.

Court administration is expected to review soon where the judge will preside after this week.

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