Emotions were running high outside the Palestra Sunday afternoon after the funeral service for Philadelphia Police Officer Robert Wilson III.
As Springfield Township Corporal Shawn Hart looked at the solemn expressions in the crowd, he noticed a look of anxiety on the face of one police official. Corporal Hart quickly realized the reason for the concern. Officer Wilson’s funeral procession was about to begin and a car with no owner in sight was blocking the route.
“I watched him for a couple minutes, walked down, talked to him and asked him if it needed to be moved,” Hart said. “He’s like, ‘yeah, it has to be moved. I got a tow coming but I don’t know if it’s gonna make it here in time.’”
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After waiting a few more minutes, Corporal Hart and more than a dozen other officers took action as the procession started.
They gathered around the car and began to lift.
“We just moved the car,” Hart said.
“I just asked some guys in line for a hand. They came over and we moved it to the side. The procession was able to get past and that was it. After the procession came by he [the car’s owner] jumped in his car and moved it out of the way before the hearse came down.”
The funeral procession eventually brought Officer Wilson’s body to his final resting place at Fernwood Cemetery in Lansdowne.
Hart isn't sure how many other officers joined in or what departments they were a part of. All he knows is that they stepped in to help, no questions asked.
“There were so many,” Hart said. “They just came over, grabbed a piece of the car and they moved it. I don’t even know where they were from.”
Hart had no idea the moment was captured on camera and subsequently shared on social media. Yet those officers weren’t looking for any recognition, they were simply performing their duty to the fullest in honor of a man who gave his life in order to do the same.