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January 04, 2017

Philly FOP president angered by decision not to charge teen who punched cop

McNesby calls Williams an 'ethically challenged sideline playboy'

Police Investigations
John McNesby Joseph Kaczmarek, File/AP

Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5 President John McNesby, seen in this file photo responding to questions from the news media on Oct. 1, 2012 at F.O.P. headquarters in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams has drawn the ire of the city police union head once again.

John McNesby, president of Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 5, sharply criticized Williams for declining to charge a 16-year-old girl who police said has admitted she punched an officer during a melee in Southwest Philly on Monday.

In a letter posted to the FOP's Twitter page, McNesby claimed Williams chose to "look the other way" rather than fulfill his responsibility to seek justice against the officer, whose name has not been publicly released.

Both the teenager, identified as Johnnae Pendleton, and the officer admitted to investigators that they had exchanged punches in the scuffle as the officer responded to a fight between some 30 people on the 1300 block of South 54th Street around 2:45 p.m on Monday.

Portions of the fight were captured on a video posted to Facebook, including footage of the officer striking Pendleton.

The D.A.'s Office declined to bring charges against Pendleton on Tuesday. That angered McNesby, and in his letter he wrote:

"The young woman who freely admitted assaulting a uniformed Officer on duty is allowed to walk away with absolutely no accountability by a District Attorney too busy dodging Federal Subpoenas to do the job he was sworn to do. It has been very disappointing over the past seven years watching a once promising District Attorney degenerate into a morally and ethically challenged sideline playboy."

Federal investigators reportedly have been looking into the political and personal finances of Williams, including the Second Chance Foundation he founded in 2011. In August, Williams belatedly reported receiving $160,050 in gifts from 2010 to 2015.

McNesby also referenced when Williams declined to bring charges against former Philadelphia Eagles running back LeSean McCoy, who was accused of participating in a brawl at an after-hours club last February that left two off-duty police officers injured.

The D.A.'s Office responded with its own statement:

"District Attorney Williams will never apologize for relying on high investigative and prosecutorial standards before deciding to take away someone's freedom. And it's stunning that anyone, much less a member of law enforcement, would ever believe anything else. Mr. McNesby's comments seem to miss the fact that the District Attorney has prosecuted more police officers than his past two predecessors combined. The District Attorney believes that everyone should be treated the same and held to the same standards regardless of if they are a police officer or not."

Williams is up for re-election this year. 

In posting McNesby's letter to Twitter, the FOP tweeted, "Remember this at election time. Please share."