There have been 218 homicides so far this year in Philadelphia, a nine-percent increase over this time last year, and a rash of recent killings of teenagers and young people over the summer. But the scandal currently roiling the detectives in the Philly Police Department’s Homicide Unit is about an allegedly racist letter prompted by someone’s rib lunch being improperly disposed of.
Philly police Commissioner Richard Ross said the department is investigating the letter, which was written by a white homicide detective to a black detective, openly berating him for leaving ribs in the trash. The detective letter-writer, by his own word, was reportedly outraged, as the ribs had begun to rot and create a foul odor.
“Now, in that I have a sense of etiquette and social fluency instilled in me from my upbringing by traditional, caring parents, I am offended by this. Alas, that same education prevents me from being upset with you – you can’t blame a filthy savage for being a filthy savage,” states the allegedly racist letter, which was signed Jimmy Crone.
Det. Crone is currently off street-duty while the allegedly racist letter is being investigated, said Philly Police Commissioner Richard Ross.
Alleged racist letter shocks Philly police
“‘Wow’ was my first reaction,” Ross said at a press conference to discuss the letter held on Aug. 28. “It didn’t fit the offense. … To me, it didn’t make a lot of sense.”
The letter goes on to tell the unidentified eater of the ribs, “As I’m sure you were not burdened by significant schooling, and were birthed to an alcoholic, absent father and a rancid whore of a mother, you simply are ignorant of the fact that you are little more than an upright animal. The conditions of our workplace are not glamorous or accommodating, but we can make it tolerable to be inhabited by decent, civilized human beings by following some simple rules of propriety. I am not in any manner trying to embarrass you, just the opposite: I’m here to offer my guidance and assistance in helping you make the difficult transition from a grotesque, primal animal to tolerable coworker.”
The letter was posted publicly in the kitchen of the Homicide Unit, Ross said.
“He taped it over the garbage can where he found the ribs,” he said.
The Philadelphia Police Advisory Commission (PAC) denounced the letter.
“The Police Advisory Commission was shocked, saddened and outraged by the racist and bigoted letter recently drafted by a Philadelphia Police Homicide Detective,” PAC said in a statement. “His statements, which he confidently posted in his work area, suggest a need for concerted attention towards the role of racism within the Philadelphia Police Department. Moreover, his statements are a cause for concern regarding his legitimacy as a police officer in both the past and the future. Considering the tremendous power that our society affords police officers, it is imperative that we are confident that those who show obvious racial animus are relieved of that power.”
Crone, a 22-year veteran, reportedly admitted to writing the letter.
Ross said some language in the letter touched on historically derogative references to African-Americans, and said it could be a sign of a need for racial bias training among the police force.
“None of it is a panacea,” Ross said, [but] “we have a higher standard we have to live up to.”
Philly police union president John McNesby commented on the letter, telling the Inquirer, “If you have a problem with somebody, you should address it personally.”