PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Hundreds marched to Back the Blue on Friday to show support for police in Northeast Philadelphia after the department had a tumultuous and trying 10 days. On Aug. 14, a gunman shot six officers during a seven-plus hour long shootout. Then Tuesday, Commissioner Richard Ross abruptly resigned.
“Some people forget what police are up against,” Jim Naphys said.
With the seven-plus hourlong shooting and standoff fresh in everyone’s mind, more than 200 people gathered at the corner of Frankford and Cottman Avenues in Northeast Philadelphia for the Back the Blue event, including 6-year-old Heidi, whose dad is a cop.
“He works really hard,” Heidi said. “I want him to work really hard so everybody can be safe.”
Part of the event was local politician stump speech.
“Want to stand with our law enforcement,” councilmember David Oh said.
Part of it was a pro-police rally.
“Any chance you got, you got to show your support,” Naphys said.
Friday’s event comes during a tumultuous time in the department.
Besides the shootout, Ross stepped down as commissioner with Christine Coulter taking his place while the search for his full-time replacement takes place.
“Whoever is in charge, you want somebody who has your back,” Naphys said. “Commissioner Ross had our back and Commissioner Coulter will have our back.”
The department also struggles with community and race relations.
Earlier this summer, 13 officers were fired for alleged racist and inappropriate Facebook posts.
“I wish it were a little more diverse,” Philadelphia Police Sgt. Brian Hennessey said. “I’d like to see other people from the community here and really get together because that’s what we strive for.”
“There has to be more of a respect,” Irene Appiah said. “It can’t just be the police have to respect the people. The people have to respect the police. It has to be a two-way street.”
On Friday night, Frankford and Cotton Avenue was full with many who hope the issues are resolved so the community and police can continue to work well together.
“We support them every day,” Barbara Petrasovits said. “Every day.”
Some of the same people who gathered Friday are planning a pro-police march for 10 a.m. on Saturday at Broad Street and Washington Avenue.