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For his part, Mr. Lewis, who turned 60 the day of his arrest, said he found the correspondences to be “threatening.” He said he wrote back to both letters with a simple message: “You’re not going to bully me.”

Coming up through the ranks in Philadelphia, Mr. Lewis said, he employed community policing “as much as the department would allow.”

“But more than that, I expressed my strong desire to have every officer seriously address the concerns of the residents in my districts. It is showing respect for people. I feel every human being should be treated with respect. The biggest thing you can have as an ally in the Police Department is not weapons, but the support of a community. And you don’t get that by lip service. Officers have to respond professionally to people’s concerns.”

In Uniform at Protests, and in Trouble as a Result

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