Wednesday, September 23, 2009
7118: Philly Style.
From The New York Daily News…
White cop told cornrows break work rules, while dozens of black officers wear the hairstyle
By Simone Weichselbaum and Rich Schapiro
Daily News Staff Writers
A white Philadelphia cop who reported to work with his hair in cornrows was yanked off the street and ordered to get a new ‘do.
Officer Thomas Strain was relegated to desk duty by a black superior this month, even though several black cops sport the same hair style, Philadelphia police sources said.
“If other ethnic groups are permitted to wear their hair in that manner, why are they singling out this one officer?” a fellow cop told the Daily News.
“It is ridiculous that we are wasting time and energy on this.”
Police spokesman Lt. Frank Vanore said Strain’s boss, identified as Inspector Aaron Horne, told the veteran officer to cut his hair to look more “professional.”
Police policy requires officers to have “clean, properly trimmed and combed hair” that doesn’t extend to their collar or cover their ears, Vanore said.
The policy prohibits radical hair colors but doesn’t ban specific styles, such as cornrows, Mohawks or dreadlocks.
Vanore stressed that Strain, who has since cut his locks, was reprimanded because his hair was unruly - not because it was in cornrows.
But not all Philly cops bought that argument.
It’s absolutely discriminatory,” a fellow officer told the Philadelphia Daily News. “[Strain’s hair] 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,” the cop added. “I don’t know what the problem is.”