Philly Police Officer Suspended For Allegedly Making Racist Remarks

Cpl. Robert Pawlowski reportedly called an African-American boss a "banana-eating monkey."

Highway Patrol Images | Wikimedia Commons

Highway Patrol Images | Wikimedia Commons

Cpl. Robert Pawlowski was recently suspended for 30 days by Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross for allegedly uttering a string of racially charged insults about an African-American commander and an African-American police officer in December.

Pawlowski was off-duty and hanging out at a lounge inside the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No.5’s Northeast Philly headquarters when he allegedly approached two white officers who worked in West Philly’s 18th District and described their boss, Capt. Robin Wimberly, as a “banana-eating monkey,” according to police records.

It got worse from there. Pawlowski — whose brother, Officer John Pawlowski, was fatally shot in the line of duty in 2009 — allegedly went up to another white cop who was talking to a handful of black supervisors and pulled the officer away. “Why are you over there?” Pawlowski asked the cop, according to the records. “They don’t like you.”

Robert Pawlowski approached the same white cop a short while later and allegedly told the officer not to trust his partner, who is African-American, because “he is one of them.” The white cop recoiled, according to the records, and told Pawlowski that he trusted his partner with his life. But Pawlowski didn’t give up there. He allegedly went up to the white cop again, and told him the only reason that he and his partner had received a significant amount of training was because of the partner’s skin color. “Because he is a nigger,” Pawlowski said, according to the records.

Pawlowski, a 19-year veteran of the force, has since been transferred from the Criminal Intelligence Unit to the 24th District in North Philly. The white officers who were on the receiving end of Pawlowski’s alleged diatribes described the incident to Internal Affairs investigators.

Ross said he moved to suspend Pawlowski before the veteran cop faced an internal disciplinary hearing. “The alleged comments were extremely offensive, and not in any way reflective of how a police officer should conduct himself, on duty or off,” he said.

But there’s an additional wrinkle to the story. Internal disciplinary paperwork that detailed the allegations against Pawlowski — and the names of the cops who cooperated with Internal Affairs — was leaked at some point, and wound up on a website. Copies of the paperwork were also stuffed onto the windshields of cars inside the 24th and 25th District’s parking lot.

The information is supposed to be confidential, and its early release could be the kind of thing that impacts an arbitration hearing down the road, should Pawlowski appeal his suspension. Ross said the department is actively trying to determine how the paperwork was leaked.

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