Give a “cut-above” credit to Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey for quietly traveling to barber shops in numerous neighborhoods around the city to talk with customers, engaging in conservations about community perceptions of police.
The Commissioner taking his time to listen — getting earfuls from folks sharing their complaints and kudos — is smart policing. This is the type of initiative needed to move the phrase “community partnership” from a politically popular cliché to an effective crime fighting practice.
Commissioner Ramsey and Mayor Nutter both know about and care about doing something about the biggest crime related problem confronting Philadelphia: the outrageous levels of murders.
The victims of those murders are disproportionately young Black males as are the perpetrators.
As Philadelphia Tribune City Editor Daryl Gale perceptively noted in a commentary last week, “young Philadelphians are so hopeless and filled with shortsighted desperation that they’ve engaged in what could well be the first case of self-inflicted genocide in human history.”
The 324 murders recorded in Philadelphia last year produced the unenviable distinction of ranking Philly as #1 in murder rates among America’s ten largest cities…more than New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles and Houston.
And before the smoke of New Year’s Eve fireworks dissipated the smoke of gunfire besmirched the dawning of 2012 with another spate of homicides around Philly.
Mayor Nutter, during his inauguration speech last week for his second term, described this murderous behavior among some (and certainly not all) young Black men as “a local and national epidemic not sufficiently talked about, much less tackled.”
Mayor Nutter went beyond the standard “we’re going to put more police on our streets — 120 new officers on foot patrol by summer this year” by promising to “continue to build partnerships with the community through community policing and Philly Rising.” Let’s hope that 2012 is truly the year for new commitment and new thinking in City Hall about engagement with “community” in crafting and implementing crime reduction strategies.
One of the biggest failings in Philadelphia regarding crime reduction is the failure of City Hall to effectively work with community groups that daily work in the trenches with those impacted by crime and those apart of destructive criminal behavior.
As one community activist noted during an interview last week, “There’s been a disconnect between police and community initiatives. The City has to work in partnership with communities. There are groups out there working on violence reduction that never get credit.”
While politicians and police officials talk about partnerships with communities you rarely see community groups included in press conferences where City Hall pats itself on the back by announcing reductions in murder rates and/or decreases in crime generally.
Community based violence reduction efforts already confront uphill battles on the front lines from those they are trying to impact who feel these efforts have little influence among the power-brokers in City Hall and Center City corporate suites that hold real sway over matters involving employment, education and criminal justice policies.
City Hall brushing aside these efforts — deliberately or inadvertently — reinforces the perception of powerlessness of those efforts in the minds of people those efforts are trying to reach. Community groups are getting ready to launch a new violence reduction initiative captioned “Live and Let Live” — phrasing that tactically addresses a prime trigger for much of the conflicts leading to fatal violence: arguments over perceptions of someone not “respecting” someone.
The Mayor, City Council, corporate and civic leaders need to back these kinds of community initiatives, not just with making the easy endorsements but with resources inclusive of providing money.
Mayor Nutter deserves credit for declaring during his inauguration speech his willingness to “extend a hand” to persons ready to “put guns down.” Nutter said, “We must show them that if you put the gun down we’ll work with you to put a book in your hands, to put some work and a job in your hands, to put a paycheck in your hands.”
To transform the mayor’s sincere rhetoric into reality City Hall has to stop shooting itself in the foot with counter-productive practices like the Police Department’s Stop-&-Frisk campaign and the sweet-heart Project Labor Agreement Nutter announced late last year for trade unions with a history of racial discrimination.
Stop-&-Frisk is infused with racial profiling mainly targeting Black and Latino males. This dragnet policing alienates people who the police need for cooperation in identifying criminals. Commissioner Ramsey bemoaned the lack of community cooperation in solving murders and the impact that has on lower rates of solving murders yet some of that lack of cooperation comes from adverse reactions to offensive policing.
As law professor Sherrilyn Ifill noted in a short essay posted recently on The Root there are “unintended consequences” from the Stop-&-Frisks in New York City that like Philadelphia overwhelmingly targets non-whites. “Fostering a relationship of hostility with the city’s Black and Latino male population is not only wrong; it’s also not smart policing,” Ifill wrote noting disincentives like discouraging providing police with crime solving tips.
Last June the Nutter Administration entered a legal settlement to reform Stop-&-Frisk yet months later the mayor committed city-funded construction jobs exclusively to discriminatory building trade unions, the types of jobs needed for that “hand-up” referenced in his inauguration speech.
The time is ripe for real engagement with communities.
Linn Washington Jr. is a graduate of the Yale Law Journalism Fellowship Program.
Philadelphia homicide detectives continue to work to identify and arrest two Black males suspected of murdering a West Philadelphia grocery store owner, his wife and the owner’s sister during a robbery.
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey told the Tribune that the victims — store owner Porfirio Nunez, 49, of 500 Beecher Avenue in Cheltenham, Pa., his wife, Juana Nunez, 44, and Lina Sanchez, Nunez’ 42-year-old sister — were shot multiple times during a robbery Tuesday and were pronounced dead at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital by 8:30 p.m. that night.
According to Commissioner Ramsey, the triple homicide happened just before 8 p.m. inside Lorena’s Grocery located in the 800 block of North 50th Street in the Mill Creek section of West Philadelphia. Investigators are looking for two young Black males who entered the store at 7:56 p.m. One male is described as being in his early 20s and is about 5 feet 4 inches in height with a stocky build. The other man is a little older, in his 30s, and both were wearing black T-shirts and black caps.
“We’re putting together some surveillance video and we think one of the suspects is the same guy from a different robbery,” said Commissioner Ramsey. “No one was killed in the earlier incident, but it was the same M.O. and the same description. For some reason they didn’t shoot either of the witnesses who are daughters of the victims. We think he may be someone who frequented the store but we’re really going to need the public’s help on this one.”
Philadelphia has had 187 murders so far in 2012, and law enforcement officials, along with lawmakers and city residents, are concerned about the recent spike in homicides.
In January, as a further incentive for the community to tell police where the city’s most wanted fugitives are hiding, Mayor Michael Nutter announced a $20,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of these dangerous criminals.
“We will be doubling the funding of our witness assistance program to protect witnesses from that hateful ‘don’t snitch’ mentality. Also, as of today there is a standing reward for any information leading to the arrest and conviction of suspects wanted for murder, wanted for any homicide in the city. To every criminal out there, I just put a $20,000 bounty on your head. We’re coming for you, we will find you, and people will give up that information,” Nutter said.
So far, although no one has been able to claim a $20,000 reward, that doesn’t mean someone isn’t going to, according to Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey, who said it’s a little early to gauge results yet.
“The $20,000 is for the arrest and conviction of a suspect — and right now we do have some people who are eligible, but it’s still a little early at this point,” Ramsey said. “There are several cases that are still going through the process of the justice system, and that takes some time.”
Is a $20,000 “bounty” enough of an incentive for witnesses and tipsters to override the so-called “no snitching” culture and come forward with information regarding the locations of the city’s most wanted? Some city leaders think so.
“I think $20,000 is more than sufficient, provided of course that people know the police will protect them — witness protection is always a paramount issue,” said Chad Lassiter, MSW, President of Black Men at Penn. “I think we also need to keep the information about the reward money in the minds of city residents through ads and flyers and public information — almost like a campaign. I think if people know the money is there and protection is there, they’re going to keep cooperating with police.”
Bilal Qayyum, longtime community activist and executive director of the Father’s Day Rally Committee, also raised the issue of protecting tipsters and witnesses. Qayyum said there are probably homicide cases where people know who the killer is, and know where they are, but are still afraid of retaliation — even though the suspect probably doesn’t have enough influence to have someone killed even if they’re on the other side of the city.
“The reality is that most of these cats are just thugs who have no real organization behind them — they can’t reach beyond their own neighborhoods. They might have some crazy family members or friends but that’s it. But the perception is that they can. Look at that young girl, Chante Wright who was in witness protection. They couldn’t get her until she left the program and came back to Philly,” Qayyum said. “So is $20,000 enough to really make witnesses or tipsters give up the information? I used to think so, but maybe its not.”
The following local fugitives are wanted for murder. Getting them off the streets will make communities that much safer, and could make someone’s bank account a little fatter. Anyone with information regarding their whereabouts should contact the Philadelphia Police Homicide Unit at 215-686-3334 / 3335 or dial 911.
The night of June 24 was a busy one for Philadelphia police, who had to respond to several shootings and stabbings that weekend. Among them was George Fox, 44, who was working the bar at T-Barr’s Place, in the 2200 block of South 8th Street. Fox was stabbed multiple times during an attempted robbery. Through reviewing surveillance cameras as part of the investigation, police have identified a suspect in Fox’s killing. Authorities are searching for 31-year-old Omar Wright. According to investigators, surveillance recordings show Wright entering the bar wearing a hoodie and demanding money from Fox. He allegedly stabbed the victim, stole cash from the register and fled the scene.
On Sunday, January 1, at approximately 1:25 a.m., police officers from the 15th District responded to a radio call of gunshots and a male shot on the highway. Upon arrival, officers located an unknown male suffering from multiple gunshot wounds to the neck and back. The victim was identified as Gerard Market, 48, from the 4100 block of Orchard Street. Market was rushed to Temple University Hospital, where physicians pronounced him dead at 1:55 a.m. Based on their investigation, homicide detectives issued an arrest warrant for Christopher Johnson, 30, on January 4. Johnson is from the 1300 block of 66th Avenue.
On the night of Thursday, February 9, at 1:29 a.m., police officers from the 39th District were called to the vicinity of Marion and Hansberry Street in response to a report of gunfire. When responding officers arrived at the location, they found 23-year old David McClenic suffering from multiple gunshot wounds to the torso. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene. The investigation revealed that McClenic was involved in a physical altercation with several males and connected Anthony Baker, 26, with the fatal shooting. Baker’s last known address was on the 6300 block of Algard Street.
Two children, ages 10 and 2, were among the latest victims of senseless gun violence in the Point Breeze section of Philadelphia Tuesday night — an incident that started as a fight between young people and escalated into a potentially deadly confrontation.
Tuesday’s shooting started around 7:30 p.m. and was the latest incident involving blazing guns and innocent children caught in the crossfire. Tuesday’s incident mirrors an earlier shooting last Sunday in which a 6-year-old girl was struck by a bullet.
Among those wounded Tuesday night where 59-year-old Andrea Cooper, who was struck in the leg, her granddaughter 2-year-old Aisha Owens, wounded in the stomach and hand and Cooper’s grandson, 10-year-old Siyir Owens, who was also struck in the right leg. Another 25-year-old male was also wounded in the finger.
Aisha Owens remains in critical condition as of Tribune press time. The other victims are in stable condition and are expected to recover.
Investigators said that what sparked the shooting was a brawl between at least three girls who are students at South Philadelphia High School — a fight stemmed from an unruly Facebook posting back in July.
“This started behind some nonsense at South Philadelphia High School,” said Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey, who was at the scene of the crime. “Basically it was a fight between some girls that spilled over onto the streets. At least two of the girls went to a house in the 1200 block of South Bucknell Street where one of the girls, a 14-year-old they were fighting with, was staying with her grandparents.
According to Ramsey, the two girls brought a group of men along with them and managed to force their way into the home.
“They started a physical confrontation, some males arrived with some sticks, golf clubs, so it continued into a physical confrontation,” Ramsey said. “They literally forced their way into the home and then tried to force the 14-year-old female out. Some other guys in the neighborhood came to see what was happening and that was when the males in both groups began shooting. We’re just really fortunate that no one was killed. It had nothing to do with Wall Street going up or down, I can tell you that. It was some dumb crap that they were fighting over that means absolutely nothing — and now we’re talking about a 2-year-old who is in surgery because of these ignorant people who are out here.”
Police say they are looking for a suspect described as a Black male, 25 to 30 years old, 6 feet tall with a heavy build, about 210 pounds. The second gunman is described as a Black male in his early 20s with a dark complexion.
“There have been several shootings in this community lately, and all of them have been tragic and senseless,” said state Representative Kenyatta Johnson. “I understand that this latest incident started at South Philadelphia High School, which one of the reasons why I’ve been aggressive on dealing with school violence — it always spills over into the surrounding community and usually escalates. Although the identities of the gunmen aren’t known yet, I know the police are aggressively working on this case — but it takes the community to get involved and get involved right from the start. There was a crowd standing around watching this unfold. People need to call police right away when they see something about to jump off. This isn’t entertainment; it’s not reality television. You would think people would have called 911 and say ‘trouble is starting out here, send some officers.’ When police catch up to these two gunmen and arrest them, I hope that the sentence they’re given will put them under the jail.”
Tuesday night’s incident is just the latest where children have been wounded by gunfire in South Philadelphia. On Sunday, 6-year-old Denean Thomas was hit in the leg by a bullet. Thomas is listed in stable condition at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and police have made two arrests in that case.
The suspects have been identified as 17-year-old Charles Rice and 19-year-old Tyler Linder. Both young men have been charged with three counts of aggravated assault, conspiracy, weapons offenses, simple assault, reckless endangerment and related charges.
According to law enforcement authorities the shooting happened on September 26th at around 9:35 p.m. in the 1600 block of South 18th Street. Investigators report that a 23-year-old female, a 17-year-old male and Thomas, were sitting in front of a residence when Rice and Linder allegedly approached them, pulled out handguns and proceeded to open fire.
Their target was the 17-year-old male, whose name has not been released yet by authorities.
Police are still unraveling Sunday night’s incident but believe it was in retaliation for an earlier shooting involving two local street gangs.
“This was a turf war,” Johnson said. “There are a lot of good, hardworking people in this community, but we also have some individuals who just don’t have the community’s best interests in mind. We can’t keep them from going down that path and unfortunately, we’ll have to deal harshly with them.”
Commissioner Ramsey said that so far, there’s nothing to indicate that the shooting on Sunday night and Tuesday night’s incident were related.
“Obviously the investigation will take us where it takes us but so far, there’s nothing that indicates they were related,” he said. “Right now it does look like Sunday night’s incident was gang related.”
Homicide detectives continue to unravel what precisely sparked the double murder of two brothers inside an Overbrook Park residence this week, but there is no question that their home was what has been described by law enforcement authorities as a “nexus” of illegal drug activity.
Law enforcement officials also said that the older brother, Christopher Malcolm, 17, was allegedly into the drug game — and all indications are that he was the actual target.
“The older brother, this young boy was in it hard. He was moving serious drugs,” said Deputy Commissioner Richard Ross. “It looks like whoever the shooter was probably targeted him, and the younger brother was collateral damage. I was actually leaving a meeting and heading home when Chief Inspector Scott Small called me and said ,‘This is a really bad one.’
Christopher Malcolm had three prior narcotics arrests and convictions. Bennett had an arrest for a weapons offense.”
Investigators said that when they searched the home, they found more than $100,000 in cash, several handguns, a small amount of hydroponic marijuana and over 1,700 illegal prescription pills.
The illegal pharmacopeia included Xanax, Oxycodone, Percocet and six bottles of Codeine. Most of the illegal drugs were found inside of the parents’ bedroom, and although as of Tribune press time charges have not been filed against Rohan and Cynthia Bennett, they are being questioned and charges are pending.
Rohan Bennett was upstairs when the shooting happened with an 18-year-old friend of the family.
“What we have so far is a location where there was significant drug activity,” said Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey. “It’s still early in the investigation, and we still don’t know exactly what sparked off the shooting. It might have been a home invasion, or a drug deal that went bad. Right now it looks as though the shooter was known to the victims. We found numerous prescription pills in the home, some marijuana, several handguns and a large amount of cash. A suspect has not been named yet, but we do have some direction and are optimistic that we’re going to find and arrest the person responsible. We’re sparing no effort on this case.”
The double murder happened Tuesday night around 7:30 p.m. From what police have been able to piece together so far, Malcolm and his brother, Rohan were in the living room with the still unidentified shooter when gunfire erupted. Malcolm was hit in the chest and lower right back. He was taken to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania where he was later pronounced dead. Rohan was shot multiple times and managed to crawl into the basement where he was pronounced dead at the scene.
Investigators said there are indications that Malcolm and the parents were allegedly involved in some kind of dispute over drugs and money. Precisely what the dispute was about remains to be uncovered by detectives, who reported that the drug operation was not small scale. Witnesses described the shooter as a light skinned Black male who was wearing a blue shirt. He fled from the home carrying a large bag; whether it contained drugs, money or both is not known at this juncture.
“Sometimes the lure of big, fast money gets to them,” Ross said. “But it’s a dangerous game and there really are no winners.”
Mother of five killed in Grays Ferry
The manhunt is on for a second suspect in the killing of a Grays Ferry woman who was just standing on her porch when gunfire exploded on the 1500 block of Corlies Street on Friday, April 20.
Clarice Douglas, 45, a mother of five, was standing on her front porch waiting for her children to come home from school when she was caught in the crossfire between two young Black males at 2:30 p.m. Law enforcement authorities have issued an arrest warrant for Shekinah Williams, a 28-year-old Black male from the 2100 block of Sears Street, and the Citizen’s Crime Commission is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to his arrest and conviction. Investigators allege that Williams was involved in a shootout with another Hakeem Burley, 23, who was wounded in the exchange of gunfire that left Douglas dead from multiple gunshot wounds.
Police recovered a .45 caliber handgun and 18 shell casings from the scene.
Williams and Burley are no strangers to law enforcement. In 2000, Williams was 17 and pleaded guilty to robbery, possessing an instrument of crime and criminal conspiracy, and was sentenced to four to eight years in prison. A few months before, he was arrested for aggravated assault, recklessly endangering another person, weapons offenses and simple assault. In 2008, he pleaded guilty to marijuana possession. At age 16, in 2004, Burley was arrested for robbery, burglary, weapons offenses, recklessly endangering another person, terroristic threats and related charges.
Douglas is just the latest victim of gun violence in South Philadelphia. On March 21, two children having fun inside a playground were wounded when they were caught in the crossfire between two other young Black males with guns. Fortunately, their wounds were not fatal. The day before, on March 20 there was a double shooting at 3:30 p.m. at the intersection of 5th and Pierce streets that left two men wounded.
“Regarding this recent shooting, we have one person being held and we recovered a gun. We have some direction on the second suspect. As for the other recent incidents, there could be a lot of things causing the violence in that part of town,” said Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey. “It could be disputes between different gangs, but it doesn’t have to be. It could be something as simple as looking at another person in the wrong way, or an argument over a female. Basically, there is no shortage of thugs with guns who are not afraid to fire over any dispute. It can even be a spur of the moment thing.”
On March 29, police say a 24-year-old man was shot twice in the buttocks just before 2 a.m. at 26th and Jackson streets. The victim was taken to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in stable condition. A few days before, on March 21, two children were wounded by gunfire at Sach’s Playground at 4th Street and Washington Avenue. Investigators believe that shooting was touched of by an earlier incident in the vicinity.
On March 20, police were called to the vicinity of 5th and Pierce streets in response to a double shooting that also happened in the afternoon, this time around 3:30 p.m. Two males were taken to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in stable condition. On March 30, a 19-year-old woman was shot in the abdomen just before 11:30 p.m. in the 1200 block of South 13th Street. Surveillance cameras captured images of the suspect, a young Black male in his teens or early twenties demanding money. The woman tried to defend herself with mace.
Club Onyx, at 2900 South Columbus Boulevard has been the scene of several shootings and robberies in recent months. The last one happened on February 23 when a man was critically shot outside the strip club in the early morning hours. The suspect, 25-year-old Kyle Carter, was arrested a few days later. According to police, Carter was involved an argument with the victim, who died from his wounds a week later. During the argument Carter allegedly took out a gun and shot the victim in the neck.
“There are combinations of different causes behind this senseless bloodshed,” said Philadelphia City Councilman Kenyatta Johnson, who lives in the district. “Many times these are petty disputes that rise to the level of violence. Some of the reports I’ve seen indicate drug turf wars in some instances, but all of it has a negative impact on the community — and most of the victims are young Black males. This last murder has left five children without their mother, and I was just down in the vicinity a couple of weeks ago for another shooting. But the reality is that we cannot give up and just sit on the sidelines; we have to keep working aggressively to change the mindset of these young men. Just today I was at the Youth Study Center, listening to some of the teens on the inside regarding what kind of support and encouragement they need that will help them turn themselves onto a better path. Now they all had suggestions, but one of them stood up and said that what’s really needed are parents who keep a firm hand on them. He said if his parents had really stayed on him about the consequences of his actions, he might have made better decisions.”
At the 9th Annual Summit on Race, Culture and Human Relations, Mayor Michael Nutter said the country’s reaction to Black-on-Black crime is astounding when seen from the perspective of its response to terrorism.
“Black men are becoming an endangered species in America — locked up or dead,” Nutter said. “Crime also breeds upon itself. After serving their time, many of the individuals who are released from our prisons cannot find work, and do not have the training or literacy skills to keep a job. And so, these folks quickly fall back into the criminal lifestyle to make ends meet.”
In recent months, Philadelphia and other major cities have seen incidents of roving mobs of teens attacking people, robbing and damaging businesses and disrupting traffic.
The violent flash mobs were in several cases organized through social media websites such as Facebook and My Space.
In response, the Nutter administration instituted a stricter curfew for minors in Center City and extended curfew boundaries from the Delaware River as far west as University City.
But the response of law enforcement has to go further in being proactive about preventing crime.
On Thursday at the Loews Hotel in Center City, Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey, who is also president of the national Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) hosted a one-day conference on social media and policing.
The conference was attended by local, state and federal law enforcement officials from across the country, and touted as a forum for addressing the latest trends in policing and legal issues emerging as a result of modern technology. Specifically, officials are looking at how the Internet facilitates social communication, and how that technology is sometimes abused.
“But we’re also looking at how social media can be used by law enforcement,” said Josh Ederheimer, principal deputy director of COPS, Community Oriented Policing Services. COPS, which is an office of the United States Department of Justice, supports community policing in state, local, territory, and tribal law enforcement agencies. One method in doing so is through the COPS Office of Grant Programs and Funding.
“We’re looking at how to best address emerging issues of social media and the best practices of law enforcement officials,” Ederheimer said. “By convening this conference we’re hoping to gain that information. We’ve had conversations with Commissioner Ramsey and felt that Philadelphia was very responsive to these new emerging issues. Not because these incidents are occurring here all the time, but because Philadelphia’s long-term commitment to addressing the issue will help the Justice Department and PERF.”
Ramsey said it’s important that police departments become more involved in using social media websites. He pointed out that the Occupy Wall Street movement was organized through social media.
“I was out earlier with police officials from Toronto, Canada, where the protesters are planning an event soon. They wanted to see what the Occupy protesters were doing here in Philadelphia,” he said. “As we walked through their encampment, almost immediately they were texting other groups around the country – it was happening while we were there and that was very, very interesting. It’s instant communication, and it’s worldwide. We have to become more adept at using the technology. Our police department has its own active Facebook page as a way of reaching out to the community.”
One of the issues arising at the conference was how to enforce the law and be proactive in crime prevention but also respect the right of privacy and free speech.
“Police in a democratic society have a dual responsibility,” said Police Chief Edward Flynn of Milwaukee. “On the one hand we have to protect the rights of free speech and peaceful assembly, but also prevent acts of violence and protect life and property. That places unique stresses on police in democratic societies. We find out these issues are not just emerging in the United States, but in Great Britain and Canada as well. So we’re not only learning good tactics here, but also lawful and appropriate ways to develop intelligence using social media.”
Flynn indicated that police departments would be monitoring social media sites, but doing it carefully and in a Constitutionally appropriate way.
“We’re looking for key words like gun, pistol, beat-up and assault. These words are used frequently by people who want to create a violent flash mob incident,” Flynn said.
So, is this for real?
News broke last week about the City of Philadelphia having paid $775,500 to settle a slew of lawsuits filed over the years against a discredited crew of narcotics cops and a top official in the City Solicitor’s Office told a reporter that three-quarters of a million dollar expenditure is not a “shocking number.”
Not shocking in a city desperate for cash to fund public schools and provide jobs?
That response from a top city government lawyer to throwing precious City Hall revenue down a rat hole of protecting corrupt police is ridiculous with a capital R.
Perhaps a reaction that is a step above that solicitor’s remark on the Ridiculous Meter is the unusual confluence of normally antagonistic entities — the Fraternal Order of Police and the Guardian Civic League — both providing support for a policewoman disciplined by the PPD for committing the crime of fraud — lying in a series of real estate transactions.
How ridiculous (and shameful) is it for any law enforcer to publicly support a proven law breaker even if that criminal holds ranking positions in both the FOP and the GCL?
Guess this support for that property deed fudging disgraced Black policewoman and those now white ex-narcs who remain on the PPD payroll under seriously dark clouds of suspicions including stealing money proves that crime pays for police.
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Ramsey rejected a recommendation from a departmental review board to suspend that policewoman for thirty days opting instead to fire her.
Commissioner Ramsey’s action came after the Philadelphia DA’s Office refused to file criminal charges against the law breaking law enforcer for her fraudulent acts that strangely did produce criminal charges against persons with involvement in those property thefts involving that soon to be ex-cop.
In a review of the Year 2012 words beginning with the letter ‘R’ have prominence.
There is the R-word: re-election.
President Barack Obama’s re-election in November is truly historic for more reasons than the first non-white to rule the Oval Office getting a repeat performance.
President Obama prevailed in his reelection against repugnant efforts by the obscenely rich to ruin the very democracy upon which America is founded with massive infusions of cash for dirty tricks and deceptive TV ads devised specifically to defeat Obama.
Fortunately, reason among voters, lead by rock-solid support for the President from the same Blacks his administration has backhanded for four years, blocked the rich from their desired reward of stealing the presidential election thus gaining free reign to raid federal revenues.
President Obama’s encountered repugnant recalcitrance from the Republican Party way beyond legitimate partisanship.
Republican resistance to policy/programmatic initiatives of President Obama have damaged all Americans, not just Democrats but middle and low-income people who blindly back Republicans literally against their economic self-interest.
But retarded actions by Obama himself have helped that Republican resistance.
Obama keeps trying to curry bipartisan favor from the same Republicans who’ve repeatedly declared they are figuratively for everything he’s against and against everything he’s for.
Obama is caving unnecessarily on Social Security in the current Fiscal Cliff negotiations with Republicans offering his political enemies enticements through advancing his support of a scheme to curb cost of living increases that will rob senior citizens of thousands of dollars annually…breaking an Obama campaign promise not to touch Social Security.
Obama’s constant reach for rapprochements with Republicans his reminiscent of remarks that famed Black journalist/activist Ida B. Wells made in 1898 about then President William McKinley’s refusal to act against racist mobs rampaging against Blacks.
Wells, whose life and works are now the subject of programs around Philadelphia honoring her, castigated McKinley for being “…much too interested…in the decoration of Confederate graves to pay attention to Negro rights.”
The Year 2012 tallied continued attacks on the rights of Blacks, the most pronounced being efforts in many states including Pennsylvania to strip Blacks, Latinos, the elderly and college students of their voting rights by erecting barriers to election booth access.
One organization at the head of efforts nationwide to roadblock Republican efforts to rob voting rights was the NAACP, the civil rights organization that some Blacks from arm-chair revolutionaries to right-wing conservatives love to rail against as irrelevant.
Another R-word rearing its head repeatedly in 2012 was racism.
Racism laced the tragic February murder of Florida teen Trayvon Martin from motivating the racial profiling of accused assailant George Zimmerman to exposing the lack of racial diversity among Florida judges, prosecutors and police.
The failed diversity in Florida’s criminal justice system is apparently a rejection of recommendations for increasing diversity the Florida Supreme Court has made since the early 1990s.
Racism is evident in the rightfully outraged reactions to the Connecticut elementary school massacre.
That massacre in a predominately white town has prompted an unprecedented national reaction demanding action to tackle the normally politically untouchable topic of gun control.
The hot response to the Connecticut shootings contrasts to body politics’ cold as ice reaction towards the murders of 62 school age children in Chicago from January to early December 2012.
Those Chicago murders of children aged 6-to-18 are separate from the 446 children shot in that city this year alone including three 5-year-olds, one 4-year-old, one 3-year-old and two 1-year-old children, according to Crime Chicago blog.
Happy New Year!
Linn Washington Jr. is a graduate of the Yale Law Journalism Fellowship Program.
The investigation continues into a police-related shooting that happened outside a bar in the Hunting Park section of the city on Saturday.
Authorities said on-duty police officers were in the vicinity of Percy and Pike streets around 12:30 a.m. when a 26-year old man fired at them and they returned fire.
The shooting outside Olga’s Bar followed a dispute inside between Adolphus Pinkney and two other men, according to Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey.
“Witnesses said the suspect was waving a gun around. When police arrived, the suspect fired four times at the officers, who then returned fire, striking the suspect. The suspect was pronounced dead at the scene and we recovered two handguns.”
Ramsey said the officers have been placed on administrative duty until the investigation into the shooting is completed.
In an unrelated murder investigation, police said they have identified a 17-year old whose body was found in North Philadelphia Sunday night.
Police from the 39th District were called to the 2800 block of North Stillman Street just before 9 p.m. on Sunday.
When they arrived at the scene, they found the victim’s body lying on the doorstep of the residence. He had been shot multiple times in the head and body and was pronounced dead at the scene. He has been identified as Tyquan Harris of the 2900 block of North 26th Street.
As of Tribune press time, police have no motive and no suspects.
In another unrelated murder investigation, police in Upper Darby have charged a 23-year old Philadelphia man with homicide in connection with the slaying of an 18-year old woman.
The suspect, identified as Charles Deloatche, of the 5400 block of Oxford Street, turned himself in to police Saturday afternoon and said his conscience was bothering him.
Police said Deloatche told them he was a passenger in a car being driven by the boyfriend of the victim, Camille Stephenson, on Wednesday night.
Deloatche told police that the driver, known to him only as "L," got in to a heated argument with the victim. Reportedly, Stephenson pulled out gun during the verbal exchange. Deloatche allegedly grabbed the gun and it fired accidentally, killing her. Deloatche said “L” fled the scene and Deloatche drove around before abandoning the vehicle at the Creek Road Apartments in Upper Darby. Landscapers found the body on Friday.
In another unrelated criminal investigation, a defendant in the case of a slain police officer pleaded guilty to the charges of third-degree murder yesterday morning.
William Foster, 44, of Levittown pleaded guilty in the Nov. 17, 2008 death of Philadelphia Police Sgt. Timothy Simpson. Court of Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey Minehart sentenced Foster to 19 to 40 years in prison.
Simpson was killed in a car crash while he was responding to a robber reporty. He was 46 and had been on the force for 20 yearsHe is survived by his wife Kathy, and their three children Samantha, Terry and Courtney.
Investigators allege that Foster was trying to escape another pursuing police car when he crashed into Simpson's cruiser. He was charged with third-degree murder, vehicular homicide while driving under the influence, drug offenses, and other related charges.
Philadelphia District Attorney R. Seth Williams went before members of City Council on Tuesday requesting additional money to hire more prosecutors, and said that among the nation’s 22 largest counties, Philadelphia is the second lowest for funding for a prosecutor’s office.
Williams also said that underfunding is also an indication that murder rates are often higher where the funding is lower.
“It’s almost directly inversely proportional — the rate of funding to the rate of violent crime,” Williams said, adding that the latest statistics show the murder rate is up 9 percent. “Philadelphia has the second worst funding, and one of the highest murder rates. We find ourselves in the midst of unacceptable levels of violent crime. All types of violent crime have risen so far this year. As of April 15, there have been 102 homicides in the city. Aggravated assaults with guns are up 19 percent, and violent crime is up 4 percent. Philadelphia continues to fare much worse than the country as a whole, with murder and robbery rates four times the national average during 2009 and 2010.”
Right now the city’s budget allocates $31 million for the District Attorney’s office. That figure remains unchanged, Williams said, which essentially amounts to a budget cut. Taking into consideration the current budget constraints, he’s not asking for more new money, he believes, but that his department be returned a portion of the millions of dollars they’ve saved through new programs and initiatives over the last two years. Specifically, Williams is requesting an increase of $636,675 that would be used to hire 13 new assistant district attorneys.
The additional attorneys would free up seasoned assistant district attorneys to prosecute more violent offenders.
“Being able to hire them will permit me to have our more experienced prosecutors handle our increasing numbers of violent cases, especially homicides, non-fatal shootings and rapes,” Williams said.
As of May 2 there have been 114 murders in Philadelphia. One of the victims was Clarice Douglas of the 1500 block of Corlies Street. Douglas was gunned down in the middle of the afternoon when two young Black males began shooting at each other. Douglas, who was standing on her porch waiting for her children to come home from school, was struck several times.
One of the suspects was wounded and is under arrest but the second suspect, Shekinah Williams, remains at large. Williams, 28, from the 2100 block of Sears Street, has been incarcerated before. There is a $5,000 reward being offered for his arrest and conviction; $2,500 was donated by State Senator Anthony Williams and $2,500 from developer Mark Nicoletti.
“Regarding this recent shooting, we have one person being held and we recovered a gun. We have some direction on the second suspect. As for the other recent incidents, there could be a lot of things causing the violence in that part of town,” said Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey regarding the investigation. “Basically, there is no shortage of thugs with guns who are not afraid to fire over any dispute.”
The district attorney echoed that sentiment at the budget hearing, and said one of the consistent problems that drive violent crime is the proliferation of illegal guns. Making it clear that law-abiding gun owners are not the problem, he said a new practice being used is asking high bail for those caught with illegal firearms.
“St. Louis began this practice last year and quickly cut its homicide rate by about 20 percent,” Williams said. “It is unlikely that most individuals caught carrying an illegal weapon will be able to post high bail. Therefore, they will remain in prison until their trial. Regardless of the verdict and sentence they receive, these offenders will already have served several months of incarceration. Both they and their criminal acquaintances will have seen and witnessed the new reality — if you carry an illegal gun you will be incarcerated, full stop. Moreover, in these cases we will almost always ask for prison time and no probation.”