Cop with cornrows pulled from street duty
By DANA DiFILIPPO
Philadelphia Daily News
To get booted off the street, a police officer has to do something pretty serious - like shoot a suspect or be accused of brutality.
But in the 35th District, which covers Logan, Olney and adjacent neighborhoods, apparently a hairdo will do it.
A cop who got cornrows was ordered off the street and kept on desk duty for two days until he cut his braids off, sources said.
While dozens of black officers across the city wear cornrows, Officer Thomas Strain is white. So when the five-year veteran showed up for work Sept. 3 with the traditionally black hairstyle, it didn't take long for his colleagues - or his bosses - to notice.
"They pulled him out of roll call and took him right up to the inspector's office," said an officer who asked to remain anonymous.
Reached last week, Strain declined to comment about the hair hubbub.
But multiple officers in the 35th say it's been hot gossip, overshadowed only by worries of potential police layoffs, which were averted Thursday when the state agreed to help alleviate the city's budget woes.
"It's absolutely discriminatory," said one officer. Strain's cornrows 'do "was neat. It was above his collar. It's not like he shaved a Nazi sign or something anti-black or anti-Hispanic on his head. It's just cornrows. I don't know what the problem is."
The problem, police spokesman Lt. Frank Vanore said, is that Strain's superior didn't feel his cornrows were "professional."