The Philadelphia city solicitor today accused The Washington Post of "lies, half-truths or deceptions" in an article on brutality complaints against the city's police, and threatened to sue The Post if it does not correct or retract the story.
At a news conference at City Hall here, solicitor Sheldon Albert cited an article that appeared in Tuesday's editions. He said he has instructed his staff to begin drawing up the necessary papers for a "group" libel action on behalf of the city government and 8,250 city police officers, "and the law-abiding citizens of Philadelphia."
"This article contained blatant misrepresentations and misstatements," Albert said. "It is in fact corrupt, dishonest and maliciously deceitful journalism."
"We stand by our story," said Howard Simons, managing editor of The Post.
Meanwhile, Mayor Frank Rizzo went before the television cameras yesterday, saying on NBC's "Today" show, "I think the police should be more aggressive than Criminals. I am proud of our policemen."
Rizzo's appearance was the first of several interviews he has scheduled to defend the city's police.
Rizzo, a policeman for 28 years and former police commissioner, said he hopes the Justice Department suit against the city is settled before he leaves office in January.
"We want no whitewash," he said. "We want our day in court so we can wipe out the stigma placed on this city."