Philadelphia mayor-elect Michael Nutter is under fire from the city’s police union for selecting as public-safety director Everett Gillison, a public defender who once represented a police killer, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. “Here’s a guy named to a high-profile position as a deputy mayor for public safety, and he sat next to a man who killed a police officer,” said John McNesby, president of Lodge Five of the Fraternal Order of Police. He asked that Nutter reconsider the appointment, which was defended by Doug Oliver, Nutter’s press secretary.
Gillison helped represent the man who killed Police Officer Gary Skerski in 2006. Gillison, a 1978 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania with a 1985 law degree from Syracuse College of Law, is a senior member of the Special Defense and Homicide Unit of the Defender Association of Philadelphia. In a city plagued by homicides and officers under fire – including six shot, one killed, and 75 fired upon last year – Gillison’s appointment “sends the wrong message to the police and the public,” McNesby contended. “Police officers on the street are outraged. Our phones are ringing off the hook.”