Less than five months after resigning as president of the Springfield Township Board of Commissioners, Eddie Graham resigned from the board altogether on Monday afternoon as an act of protest.
Less than five months after resigning as president of the Springfield Township Board of Commissioners, Eddie Graham resigned from the board altogether on Monday afternoon as an act of protest, he said.
In a letter he sent to the township’s manager, Michael Taylor, Graham said that an item on the township’s agenda this week – a commendation ceremony that seeks to “recognize the actions of [police] officers who have demonstrated above average initiative, intelligence or ability” - is part of his reason for resigning.
In a phone call, Graham told the Local that he felt it was “inappropriate” to honor the township’s police force at a time when the department’s union, the Police Benevolent Association, is suing the township over the township’s decision to ban its employees, including police officers, from wearing the Blue Lives Matter flag insignia on township property while they are on duty. The ban effectively also bans the PBA’s logo, which incorporates the insignia.
“I thought that was a slap in the face first of all to me for bringing this matter up, but to any Black person who had been dealing with this issue,” Graham said in the phone call. “Now they’re going to honor these guys who filed the suit? I thought it was inappropriate.”
He called the board’s decision to include the ceremony on the agenda “disappointing.”
Graham said he was left out of the decision to recognize Springfield’s police officers and wasn’t told about the decision to include it on the agenda until Saturday. He was careful to note that it’s the timing of the ceremony he takes issue with, and not the act of honoring police officers.
“I’m not saying that [police officers] should not be honored,” he said. “I’m saying that the fact it’s occurring at this particular time is inappropriate.”
Graham, who also has served the president of the NAACP’s Cheltenham Branch throughout the controversy, will continue in that position. He intends to continue voicing his opposition to the PBA’s logo, he said.
“I’ll just be addressing it from a different angle,” he said. “And that angle will be from a grassroots organization.”
Graham, who had served as the board’s president for ten months until October, said that the board president and township manager typically set the agenda for each meeting, with input from the board.
The current board president, Jim Lee, did not immediately respond to a request for comment sent by the Local Monday afternoon.