Captain Lewis vs. the FOP
The Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police would very much like to oust retired police captain Ray Lewis from the police union because of his involvement in the Occupy protests. The FOP accuses Captain Lewis of “not respecting” the uniform by wearing it at protests, and wants to see him kicked out and stripped of his pension and benefits.
I happened to be standing very close to Captain Lewis when he was arrested in New York last November, and took video of his arrest. During the time I was there, I never saw him act in any way that would discredit his uniform or the Philly PD, nor did he ever present himself as anything other than what he was - a retired cop expressing his personal point of view. He was a dignified, calming presence at the protests and his graceful act of civil disobedience rightly won him the immediate admiration of everyone in the crowd. There is no doubt in my mind that his actions, far from disgracing his service, actually raised it in the estimation of many people there.
Voltaire’s biographer, Evelyn Hall, famously summarized the French philosopher’s beliefs with the phrase: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” The Fraternal Order of Police’s attitude might be better summed up as “I disapprove of what you say, and I intend to punish you for daring to say it.”