Mar 5, 2024 - News

Arrest of city official raises questions and is now under investigation

Illustration of police lights shown through the shape of a police hat.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

A video showing part of the arrest of a top city official and her husband, both Black LGBTQ+ advocates, during a traffic stop on Saturday has raised questions and drawn concern from Mayor Cherelle Parker and others.

State of play: The state police are investigating the traffic stop, including interviewing witnesses, Pennsylvania police Lt. Adam Reed tells Axios.

  • The trooper, whom the department is not naming, has been placed on restricted duty and been taken off patrols while the arrest is investigated.

Catch up quick: The trooper conducted a traffic stop on Celena Morrison, executive director of the Office of LGBT Affairs, on I-76 for several code violations, according to the police report.

  • Prior to the trooper confronting Morrison, her husband, Darius McLean, who is the chief operating officer of the William Way LGBT Community Center, arrived in a separate car.
  • McLean allegedly became "verbally combative," refused to comply with the trooper and was arrested.

Morrison, who recorded a portion of the trooper arresting McLean, allegedly interfered with the arrest and was arrested.

  • In the video circulating online, Morrison can be heard yelling at the officer that she works for the mayor's office.

Zoom in: The couple's charges included resisting arrest, obstruction of justice and disorderly conduct, per police.

  • The two were released later Saturday.
  • Whether they face charges will depend on the outcome of an investigation by District Attorney Larry Krasner, per 6ABC.

Morrison and McLean, who is also director of William Way's Arcila-Adams Trans Resource Center, did not return requests seeking comment.

What they're saying: Parker spokesperson Joe Grace referred Axios to the mayor's post on X where she said the video was "very concerning."

  • "It's a Pennsylvania State Police matter, and we have no further comment," he said.

Councilmember Rue Landau said in an X post that the video was alarming and showed excessive force by police.


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