Holding a sign and wearing a Philadelphia Police Department-issued cap and black leather jacket, retired city Capt. Raymond Lewis was among Occupy Philadelphia demonstrators gathered outside the Comcast building early yesterday afternoon.
Last November, Lewis was arrested, along with other demonstrators, for disorderly conduct while blocking traffic on Wall Street in New York City. Now a resident of upstate New York, Lewis is this week in Philadelphia supporting the Occupy movement here.
“I was invited to Philadelphia by Occupy Philadelphia to give a talk at a fundraiser at the Quaker meeting center,” Lewis said yesterday. “I accepted that invitation and I came down for that and I thought since I am in Philadelphia it would be the appropriate time to let people know about how this city has threatened me, both through the Philadelphia police commissioner and my own Fraternal Order of Police.”
Lewis has been admonished by Commissioner Charles Ramsey and the city’s FOP Lodge 5 for wearing his police uniform in public and at protests. In a letter dated Nov. 23, 2011, Ramsey gave him notice to “immediately cease and desist” wearing his uniform or official badges. Lewis contends he is retired and no longer under the authority of departmental regulations.
“I don’t have [a] problem with the guy protesting or exercising his civil rights,” FOP President John McNesby said, but added the FOP is now in the middle of an investigation and there will be a report to the Board of Directors “shortly” about Lewis’ use of the PPD uniform. He said Lewis could be “reprimanded, suspended or expelled.”
But Lewis said it’s his right to wear his own clothes where ever he wants. “I will not allow his threats to deter me from doing the right thing,” he said.
Where he stands
Lewis says his No. 1 concern now is government bribes.
At the protest, Lewis displayed a sign that read, “To Understand Us Watch ‘Inside Job’ free online
@filmsforaction.org. — a film about Corporate Greed — Not 911”
Lewis also blames corporate corruption for attempts at reducing police health care retirement benefits, co-pays for doctor visits and prescriptions, and pay hikes not keeping up with cost of living.