Philadelphia Police have arrested a man in connection with verbal threats of violence he allegedly made to an officer at the Frank Rizzo statue in Center City earlier this month.
63-year-old John Edward Sheerin of Hasbrook Avenue has been charged with Terroristic Threats and Harassment.
The incident took place on August 16 at the Frank Rizzo Statue located on the 1400 block of JFK Boulevard.
In an amateur video posted to Facebook, Philly public school teacher John Sheerin can be seen joining the activists calling for the 2,000-pound statue of the former mayor and police commissioner to be dismantled.
Sheerin, standing at the barricades lined by uniformed police, can also be seen airing his complaints about some white police officers.
The Rizzo statue has recently become a target of protest, with calls for its removal. A mural of Rizzo was also recently defaced in South Philly.
Some activists say Rizzo oppressed the black community, while others portray him as a champion for the ‘common man.’ All of this comes on the heels of the violent demonstrations and clashes between white nationalists and counter-protesters in Charlottesville over plans to take down a statue of Robert E. Lee.
On Friday, Sheehan was arrested for his part in the mid-August rally.
Many on social media were quick to point out Sheerin’s role as a public school teacher in the city, suggesting that such individuals be held to a higher standard.
Sheerin teaches at Julia De Burgos Elementary School in North Philadelphia. Those that know him call him a stand-up guy.
“I hope a few minutes on Facebook doesn’t define the man’s life,” neighbor Steve Gaynor told FOX 29. “I’ve known John for 25 years. He’s always been a gentleman. Always conducted himself in a gentleman-like manner.”
A district spokesperson said on Saturday that Sheerin has been removed from his school pending an investigation.