In response to criticism of comments made by Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney in the wake of last week's ambush and shooting of a Philadelphia Police officer by a gunman allegedly claiming he did it "in the name of Islam," the Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police leader on Monday said regardless of the gunman's motive, he's a terrorist.
FOP Lodge 5 President John McNesby said that since Kenney's comment that the shooting of Officer Jesse Hartnett "had nothing to do with being a Muslim or following the Islamic faith" during a news conference about the shooting, the union has heard concerns and complaints from officers. Police have said that Edward Archer, the accused shooter, told investigators after the shooting that he did it "in the name of Islam."
"I saw the comments. I think that the guy, he made a statement that he did it for the Islamic faith ... you gotta take him at his true word, and until somebody tells us not to, he's a terrorist, as simple as that," McNesby said. "That's the way I'm telling our guys to handle it."
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Kenney's comments also drew criticism from national media commentators.
"This guy was a terrorist, like it or not, whether he's associated with Islam, ISIS or a gang on the corner, he's an urban terrorist, and he tried to execute one of our officers," McNesby said. "We're lucky we're not planning a funeral."
McNesby said the FOP's main concern is Hartnett's recovery and the well-being of the officers on the street. He praised newly appointed Police Commissioner Richard Ross for his support of officers in the wake of the shooting and a subsequent continued threat of violence against city police that emerged via an anonymous tip over the weekend.
"Ross is doing an outstanding job making sure those troops are OK out there on the street," McNesby said.
McNesby said he's visited Hartnett, 33, a five-year veteran, a few times in the hospital, and that the officer is in good spirits despite serious injuries to his arm.
"He's surrounded by family, coworkers, and very happy that he's here with us today, and so are we, and we're looking forward to getting him through this long road of recovery," McNesby said.
"This guy wasn't just shot in the arm. His arm was shattered, blown to pieces here," McNesby added. "His arm was hanging by a string and he got out there, did what his training said, and he was in an ultimate battle with an urban terrorist, and he came out on top."