Police beating threatens to undermine GOP convention

PHILADELPHIA: As the spotlight of the GOP convention prepares to shine on Philadelphia, years worth of image-polishing efforts by the city and the event’s organizers may have been destroyed by 28 seconds beamed from another spotlight - a news helicopter’s camera, which captured a swarm of police officers pummeling a suspected criminal prior to his arrest on July 12.

PHILADELPHIA: As the spotlight of the GOP convention prepares to shine on Philadelphia, years worth of image-polishing efforts by the city and the event’s organizers may have been destroyed by 28 seconds beamed from another spotlight - a news helicopter’s camera, which captured a swarm of police officers pummeling a suspected criminal prior to his arrest on July 12.

PHILADELPHIA: As the spotlight of the GOP convention prepares to

shine on Philadelphia, years worth of image-polishing efforts by the

city and the event’s organizers may have been destroyed by 28 seconds

beamed from another spotlight - a news helicopter’s camera, which

captured a swarm of police officers pummeling a suspected criminal

prior to his arrest on July 12.



Never mind that the suspect commandeered a police car and that he shot

an officer in the hand before the camera started documenting the

confrontation.



With the GOP invasion only days away, the question that looms over the

city is not whether the incident will impact the convention, but how

much.



’Everyone is concerned that this doesn’t become the defining incident

of the city,’ said Barbara Grant, director of communications for the

mayor’s office. ’People will be sure to buzz about it, but if everyone

comes and goes having had a great time, that will be our greatest

strategic weapon.’



The city’s pre-convention PR push included a sweeping beautification

effort by a coalition of municipal and private organizations, the

removal of 33,000 abandoned cars and the illumination of Philadelphia’s

skyscrapers in red, white and blue lights.



’The preparation has been phenomenal,’ said local PRSA president Rick

Alcantara. ’Many organizations have come together to market the city

and the region.’



Public and private PR players remain hopeful that the media will not be

sidetracked by the beating incident.



’It’s a tragic situation at a bad time, but I think people understand

that a singular incident doesn’t define a city,’ said Bill Hankowsky,

president of the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corp. ’The city is

ready to showcase itself and, hopefully, will attract more conventions

and businesses to come here.’



- See analysis, p11.



Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register
Already registered?
Sign in

Would you like to post a comment?

Please Sign in or register.