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"That Photo": Police and the Power of Representation
Unformatted Document Text:  “That Photo”: Police and the Power of Representation force veteran Harrington was seriously wounded in the mouth after he was shot at point-blank range by a man who hailed his police wagon. The violence did not end that Saturday night. By Monday morning, August 31, 1970, news of 5 more police officers wounded in the line of duty broke. Sunday night, August 30, 1970 two highway patrolmen were shot and critically wounded, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, in “a West Philadelphia neighborhood teeming with police investigating the slaying of a Park Guard and wounding of another in Cobbs Creek Park 24 hours earlier.” 6 While Philadelphia Police Commissioner Frank L. Rizzo said there was no connection between the Saturday and Sunday night shootings, the first of which he attributed to a “band of organized revolutionaries,” the second shooting was no less horrific for the department to bear. The two wounded highway patrolmen in Sunday night’s shooting at 59 th St. and Cedar Ave. were Highway Patrolman Thomas J. Gibbons Jr., son of Philadelphia’s former police commissioner, and Gibbons’ partner, Patrolman John Nolen. Several hours after the shootings of Gibbons and Nolen, Philadelphia Police raided three Black Panther headquarters in North Philadelphia, West Philadelphia, and Germantown. 7 During the raids, three policemen were wounded and 15 Black Panthers were arrested, 10 men and five women. During two of the raids, in North and West Philadelphia gunfire was exchanged between police and the Panthers. The three policemen were wounded in the North Philadelphia raid. During the third raid, made at the Germantown Panther headquarters, one man surrendered without any violent exchange. 8 Among those taken into custody during the raids was Reggie Schell, the Panther’s defense captain and Philadelphia leader of the Black Panther party. The Panthers were each subsequently held on $100,000 bail. 9 During the raid, police confiscated furniture, guns, over 1,000 rounds of ammunition, and supplies from the various Panther headquarters. It was that morning when Elwood Smith’s photo hit the streets, immediately evoking speculation as to whether the police move signified an attempt to keep an upcoming 6 Thomas J. Madden and E.J. Hussie, “Rizzo Doubts Attack Is Tied To Slaying” Philadelphia Inquirer August 31, 1970 pg. 1. 7 North Philadelphia, West Philadelphia, and Germantown are different sections of the City of Philadelphia. 8 Charles Montgomery, “Rizzo Orders Actions After Four Shootings: Tear gas Used After Gunbattles Erupt at 2 Sites.” Philadelphia Evening Bulletin August 31, 1970 pg. 1. 9 The bail set on each of the Black Panthers was eventually reduced and paid by members of the local Friends. 3

Authors: Maurantonio, Nicole.
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“That Photo”: Police and the Power of Representation
force veteran Harrington was seriously wounded in the mouth after he was shot at point-blank range by a 
man who hailed his police wagon. 
The violence did not end that Saturday night.  By Monday morning, August 31, 1970, news of 5 
more police officers wounded in the line of duty broke.  Sunday night, August 30, 1970 two highway 
patrolmen were shot and critically wounded, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, in “a West 
Philadelphia neighborhood teeming with police investigating the slaying of a Park Guard and wounding 
of another in Cobbs Creek Park 24 hours earlier.
 While Philadelphia Police Commissioner Frank L. 
Rizzo said there was no connection between the Saturday and Sunday night shootings, the first of which 
he attributed to a “band of organized revolutionaries,” the second shooting was no less horrific for the 
department to bear.  The two wounded highway patrolmen in Sunday night’s shooting at 59
th
 St. and 
Cedar Ave. were Highway Patrolman Thomas J. Gibbons Jr., son of Philadelphia’s former police 
commissioner, and Gibbons’ partner, Patrolman John Nolen.  
Several hours after the shootings of Gibbons and Nolen, Philadelphia Police raided three Black 
Panther headquarters in North Philadelphia, West Philadelphia, and Germantown.
  During the raids, three 
policemen were wounded and 15 Black Panthers were arrested, 10 men and five women. During two of 
the raids, in North and West Philadelphia gunfire was exchanged between police and the Panthers.  The 
three policemen were wounded in the North Philadelphia raid.  During the third raid, made at the 
Germantown Panther headquarters, one man surrendered without any violent exchange.
  Among those 
taken into custody during the raids was Reggie Schell, the Panther’s defense captain and Philadelphia 
leader of the Black Panther party.   The Panthers were each subsequently held on $100,000 bail.
  During 
the raid, police confiscated furniture, guns, over 1,000 rounds of ammunition, and supplies from the 
various Panther headquarters.  It was that morning when Elwood Smith’s photo hit the streets, 
immediately evoking speculation as to whether the police move signified an attempt to keep an upcoming 
6
 Thomas J. Madden and E.J. Hussie, “Rizzo Doubts Attack Is Tied To Slaying” Philadelphia Inquirer August 31, 
1970 pg. 1.
7
 North Philadelphia, West Philadelphia, and Germantown are different sections of the City of Philadelphia.
8
 Charles Montgomery, “Rizzo Orders Actions After Four Shootings: Tear gas Used After Gunbattles Erupt at 2 
Sites.” Philadelphia Evening Bulletin August 31, 1970 pg. 1.
9
 The bail set on each of the Black Panthers was eventually reduced and paid by members of the local Friends.
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