Ex-cop's uniform an Occupy no-no, Ramsey says
December 09, 2011|BY STEPHANIE FARR
A RETIRED city police captain who's been wearing his uniform to Occupy Wall Street was given written notice by Commissioner Charles Ramsey and the Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police that they do not support his protest attire.
If FOP President John McNesby has his way, the retired captain, Ray Lewis, a 24-year veteran, would be booted from the FOP and lose his retirement benefits.
"I champion him for going up there and pleading his case, but he shouldn't have done it in a police uniform," McNesby said. "When he put the freaking uniform on is when he crossed the f----ing line."
Lewis, now of upstate New York, retired eight years ago and joined the Occupy Wall Street protest in New York City on Nov. 15, when the Occupiers were evicted from Zuccotti Park.
He said he did so in his full uniform because it'd be harder for the media to marginalize him to mainstream America.
Two days after he joined the movement, Lewis was arrested on his 60th birthday for disorderly conduct and related offenses as he blocked a street with others.
Recently, Lewis, who is back in Zuccotti Park in uniform, got separate letters from Ramsey and the FOP. The first told him to cease wearing a uniform; the latter said a motion regarding his conduct had been referred to the FOP's grievance committee for " action."
In his letter, Ramsey said Lewis' conduct was "disrespectful."
"Police officers take pride in being that independent third party and not taking sides," Ramsey said yesterday. "He is giving the appearance that that's not the case in Philadelphia, and it is the case in Philadelphia."
Ramsey said it's about wearing the Philadelphia police uniform while acting as a protester. However, he admitted there's not a lot he can do.
"We put him formally on notice," he said. "Should the NYPD or any other department feel he's impersonating an officer, then we certainly would not stand in the way of those charges."
Lewis said he found the letters "disgusting."
"It's purely bullying and intimidation tactics, and I am profoundly disappointed," he said. "You are not going to intimidate me."
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