PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A political controversy is splitting loyalties among police in Philadelphia.
Officer Rochelle Bilal, the president of the Guardian Civic League, the 2,500-member organization of black police officers, is railing against the national FOP, reacting to the Fraternal Police Order's endorsement of Donald Trump for president.
"We denounce the national FOP for endorsing Donald Trump," said Bilal, Guardian Civic League president.
She says the GOP nominee's divisive rhetoric is helping fuel the tension and conflicts between local police forces and black communities.
"Donald Trump campaign has run a very divisive, negative, nasty, racist, sexist - it's just a campaign that we feel our national organization should've stayed out of it," said Bilal.
Bilal wants Philadelphia's FOP lodge, led by John McNesby, to repudiate the verdict on Trump-Clinton by its national board of trustees.
McNesby declined to be interviewed for TV on Friday.
But in a telephone interview, he said his hands are tied. That he and his lodge are prohibited by charter rule from taking a public position that differs from that of the national brass.
He said quote "they'll hand me my head." The rejection McNesby told Action News in part comes from the Clinton campaign ignoring a questionnaire submitted by the FOP to both candidates. Questions on police issues including benefits, equipment, follow-up support for families who lost a breadwinner in the line of duty.
But the guardians are not letting McNesby off the hook.
"So at what point do you have the courage to take a hit knowing this campaign is very divisive?" said Bilal.
McNesby says he has decided to take the political heat here at home, rather than incur the wrath of the FOP's national bosses.
Black Philly police group 'denounce' national FOP for Trump endorsement