PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It’s been an agonizing journey for the Pawlowski family since the night their loved on was killed.
On Tuesday, Officer John Pawlowski’s brother, who also works on the force, shared his outrage about the gunman’s sentencing.
Eyewitness News learned the jury was split 7-5; 7 voting in favor of a life sentence and 5 for death. The inability to reach a unanimous decision meant an automatic life sentence for the officer’s killer. For the officer’s family, it just meant one thing, injustice.
“It’s unfortunate and more than that, it’s scary. What does this mean for justice in Philadelphia? I mean what does it mean to be a police officer?” Cpl. Bob Pawlowski said.
From anger to acceptance, it’s a journey Cpl. Pawlowski says he was forced to take after losing his younger brother, Officer John Pawlowski, then learning his killer, Rasheed Scruggs, was spared the death penalty.
Cpl. Pawlowski added, “We don’t care and that’s basically what that the jury just said. They don’t care if cops get killed and shame on them.”
Standing in front a mural designed to honor his fallen brother in a neighborhood where they grew up playing soccer and basketball, the corporal reflected on the night he was working in the police radio room when a call came in about an injured officer at Broad and Olney.
“When I found out that it was in fact Johnny who had been hurt and I didn’t know how bad at the time, but when I walked into the room and the things that I saw they’re not images that I don’t think they’re images that’ll go away. They’re there. They’ll be there until the day I die,” Cpl. Pawlowski explained.
And so on that February night, the fight for justice began for the Pawlowskis, but the outcome, they say, just added more pain.
“They say prison’s a horrible place and prison’s a rough place. You’re right it is but he walks in at the top. He is a king. He’s a God to those animals. Those animals see him as a cop killer,” Cpl. Pawlowski says that is why the family hoped for the death penalty.
“So life as opposed to death, you know it must be a hell of a thing to sit in a cell for 23 hours a day and watch yourself go a little bit more mad everyday. That might qualify as justice even if the death penalty doesn’t ever come up. Watching yourself go crazier and crazier and knowing there’s nothing more you can do about it that might be justice,” Cpl. Pawlowski said.
The Pawlowskis say they don’t know how the family will move on, but they will find a way to live life, honoring John Pawlowski everyday.
Reported By: Elizabeth Hur, CBS 3