Members of the city’s new Jobs Commission were formally named this week and held their first meeting as they move toward drawing up a series of recommendations for the city in an effort to spur job growth.
“Taking a comprehensive approach to dealing with jobs is one of the most important things we can do,” said Council President Darrell Clarke, who, along with Mayor Michael Nutter, announced the members of the 17-member panel. “What we have to do is make sure, in a very comprehensive way, that we’ve taken an approach to creating job opportunities, and insuring that there are opportunities for the City of Philadelphia.”
Clarke was a primary force behind the creation of the commission.
Voters last year gave city officials the authority to seat the group approving a change to the Home Rule Charter to establish the panel. The political watchdog group, the Committee of Seventy, argued against the idea, contending that it was simply another layer of government bureaucracy.
Members, who are not paid, will meet monthly and are expected to produce their first report within the next 6 months.
Robert C. Nelson, president and CEO of Philadelphia OIC, will chair the group, which has been charged with coordinating public/private efforts to identify “effective jobs creation policies and initiatives.” The commission’s report will address a number of topics: job training, workforce development, economic development, land acquisition and disposition, education, licensing, zoning, tax and regulatory policies.
Nelson said that despite the long list of priorities, it all boiled down to one thing — people.
“The face of unemployment is now multi-ethnic. It’s multi-cultural. It’s multi-educational. It’s multi-experiential,” Nelson said. “We need to take those faces and the sensitivity of the plight of those people in Philadelphia and, as a commission, they ought to be indelible in our mind.”
Other commission members are: Sultan Ahmad, former director of the Mayor’s Office of Community Services; Ruta Bastos of the Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; Ryan Boyer, business manager, Laborer’s District Council; Steven Scott Bradley, board chair of the African American Chamber of Commerce; David Donald, founder and CEO of PeopleShare; Mark Edwards, president and CEO of the Workforce Development Corp.; David Glancey, director of special projects, University of Pennsylvania; Councilman W. Wilson Goode Jr.; James Gratton, president of the Greater Philadelphia Hotel Association; William Hart, director of the Mayor’s Office of Re-integration Services for Ex-offenders; Eden Kratchman with the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce; Jaine Lucas with Temple University; Bilal Qayyum, president of the Father’s Day Committee; Narasimha Sheno with the Asian American Chamber of Commerce; Al Taubenberger with the Northeast Chamber of Commerce and Julie Welker with Caldwell Banker Welker Real Estate.
While Mayor Michael Nutter is busy making good on his campaign promise to turn Philadelphia into a green city, independent operators DePaul USA and Keep Philadelphia Beautiful have recently launched campaigns that will help the mayor reach his goal, albeit through different means.
On Tuesday, Keep Philadelphia Beautiful kicked off its “Littering is Wrong Too,” interactive campaign, which targets mobile, Internet-savvy residents in the 18-34 age bracket. The campaign utilizes social media outlets, events and other methods to inform residents about the effects of littering. Using a relaxed, more humorous vibe, the initiative’s website, www.litteringiswrongtoo.org, features assorted comical “wrongs;” visitors are asked to submit their “wrongs” on the site, which also features a bevy of anti-littering information and what to do if you spot a serious wrong; twitter users can also use the hash tag algorithm “#litteriswrongtoo.”
“This campaign is not only attention-getting, it demands interaction and involvement,” said Matt McKenna, president and chief executive officer of Keep America Beautiful. “Littering isn’t top-of-mind for most people. We need to first get people talking, and in the process, begin establishing the social norm that that littering is socially unacceptable behavior.”
Philadelphia More Beautiful has spearheaded the local anti-littering movement since its reformation in 2007; its three main focal points are litter prevention, waste reduction and beautification/community improvement.
Depaul USA, a locally-based homeless outreach and service provider with a national reach, is taking an entirely different track in confronting the litter issue — by hiring men in transition to help clean it up. Last Thursday, Depaul officials launched its Immaculate Cleaning Service, which will have layers of positive impact, such as providing employment to the men staying in the Depaul House, a transitional, all-male resident unit in Germantown.
Those hired by the Immaculate Cleaning Service will be contracted out, and part of their revenue will go toward Depaul House expenses and repaying the five-year loan from the Patricia Kind Family Foundation, a private philanthropic organization with deep roots in the Delaware Valley.
“This loan can do multiple duties. Initially, the funds will help Depaul USA launch a social enterprise,” said Laura Kind McKenna, managing trustee of Patricia Kind Family Foundation, through a statement released by the foundation. “As Depaul USA repays the loan, the funds can then be re-invested in other programs that benefit still more Philadelphians. In order for Immaculate Cleaning Services to succeed, it is very important that Depaul USA think like a business. A loan creates greater incentives than a grant to focus on the bottom line and be fiscally disciplined.”
Depaul USA Executive Director Chuck Levesque said the impacts of the partnership with the foundation and the creation of the cleaning service cannot be understated.
“Everyone at Depaul USA is very excited about Immaculate Cleaning Services and its potential to contribute to a double bottom line,” Levesque said. “Which is work for our guys at Depaul House, and income to support Depaul House operations.”
Public testimony continued Thursday in City Council over Mayor Michael Nutter’s proposed actual value initiative, or AVI, a plan to radically overhaul property tax values in Philadelphia.
None of those who spoke during the hearing expressed total opposition to the plan; in fact they acknowledged that the current property tax assessment system is unbalanced and extremely flawed. The greatest concern was the fear that Council could vote on the issue before all of the property reassessments are completed — which won’t be until 2013.
“We’re not against AVI,” said James Foster, publisher of the Germantown Chronicle. “But we are concerned about how its passage will impact the economy of the city. I call this an awakening to the reality of neglect in the city. We have one of the best transit systems in the country and I would ask that Council members take a ride on a train, get a window seat going just outside the city and a window seat going back in. All of these trains go right through the hearts of your districts. You will see what’s left of the economic base that made Philadelphia great. Dilapidated buildings, abandoned houses, impromptu junkyards, and of course, empty blocks where buildings once stood. What do all of these properties have in common? They are paying no real estate taxes. They are paying no business taxes and are employing no residents of Philadelphia. Bad decisions drove people out before — and if this passes you will once again see another several hundred thousand leave in short order.”
Foster also said that Council and the Nutter administration should put more emphasis on collections of tax delinquent properties.
Last week, City Council approved to the new property tax system, but the final vote is pending. The proposal, which if passed along with the Use and Occupancy tax, would bring more than $85 million more for the financially limping school district. But public support for the new measures is shaky and residents are concerned that council is being pushed to pass the bills before all of the property assessments are in. The vocal residents who testified on Thursday, along with some members of Council are asking for a one-year delay in AVI, a proposal offered by City Councilman Mark Squilla.
“Our primary concern is the long term impact that raising the tax bills will have,” said Jeff Carpineta, president of the East Kensington Neighbors Association. “Some residents could find their tax bills going up from $800 dollars to $2,500 or $3,500 dollars. These residents could wind up making late payments on mortgages or in some cases even face foreclosures, decreasing the values of the communities and dumping more properties on the market. We’ll see more residents dislocated. If we don’t have a year to work this out, it could be a disaster.”
Residents stated their agreement that the current tax assessment system needs to be fixed. Mayor Nutter wants to fix Philadelphia’s broken property-tax system by reassessing all homes and businesses, and in the process, raise millions for the school district. Revamping the property-tax system will give city residents the most accurate assessments in years.
AVI would change the way the city assesses real estate, moving from assessments based on a fraction of property value to the full market value.
“No more fractions. No more complications. You should not need a math degree to be able to figure out what your taxes are,” said the mayor in a previous interview. “Once the new values are in, we have to use them.”
Councilmen Bill Green and Mark Squilla have announced their opposition to the proposal, calling on the administration to delay implementation for another year. And state Sen. Larry Farnese has also come on board, saying he was introducing legislation in Harrisburg that would give Council that option. Opponents say they’re being asked to vote on something before all of the information is available and assessment figures will not be available until July.
Over and over during Thursday’s hearing, residents and business people alike implored Council to delay the process for one year.
“Really, I’m very pessimistic about Philadelphia’s prospects for the future,” said real estate developer Richard Snowden. “The notion that this Council is even considering a property tax increase, coming on the heels of other recent large tax increases and a jump in virtually every fee the city imposes on businesses indicates a blatant disregard for the people of this city. Due to the unreasonable scale and lack of phasing of this policy I have alerted our employees, tenants and members for 2013 includes enormous rent increases which many simply cannot afford to pay. We’ll see layoffs and curtailments in restoration and rehabilitation of buildings — all so the city can get its thirty pieces of silver. Many small Mom and Pop businesses will simply close their doors.”
As the aggressive investigation into the slaying of Police Officer Moses Walker continues, as of Tribune press time, the reward for the arrest and conviction of the suspects jumped to $88,000 and could climb even higher.
There’s $57,000 just for the arrest of the killer, and another $31,000 for the prosecution and conviction of those responsible. Much of the money is coming from private donations.
Law enforcement authorities released surveillance video of the two men wanted in connection with the death of Walker, who was gunned down over the weekend in an attempted robbery.
The surveillance footage, released by the Philadelphia Police Department, clearly shows Walker, 40, heading to the bus stop, looking over his shoulder a few times. The footage shows the two suspects, but not their faces, and police and city officials are asking for the public’s assistance in identifying them, in addition to questioning a witness whom police believe saw the entire incident.
“On Saturday, August 18, 2012, at 6:00 a.m., police responded to a shooting at 20th and Cecil B. Moore Avenue. When they arrived they found Officer Moses Walker; he had been shot multiple times. He was transported to Hahnemann University Hospital where he was pronounced dead,” said Captain James Clark of the Homicide Unit. “The investigation reveals that Officer Walker, who had just gotten off from the late tour at the 22nd District, had changed into civilian clothes and was on foot in the direction of 17th and Cecil B. Moore. He then started westbound to try and catch a bus to his home in the 2100 block of Cecil B. Moore Avenue, two males approached him. A robbery was announced, and they demanded money from him. At this time, the officer attempted to pull out his off duty weapon. That’s when one of the males fired, striking the officer once in the chest, once in the stomach and once in the hand.”
Clark said they’re fairly sure the suspects live in the area, and are very sure local residents know who they are. Mayor Michael Nutter said that $20,000 of the reward money came from the city. The Fraternal Order of Police put up an additional $20,000. The rest came from private donations. Mayor Nutter has ordered that all city flags be flown at half staff in Walker’s honor. Funeral arrangements are still being handled as of Tribune press time.
“This is just another tragedy, particularly for our police department. I spoke with Officer Walker’s mother, and everyone in their family is deeply affected by this murder,” said Mayor Michael Nutter. “At 6:00 in the morning in this area we have to believe that individuals walking the streets and engaging someone they didn’t know, they have to be from that neighborhood and more than likely live in the community.”
Nutter said that the standing reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone wanted for murder is $20,000. That information can be turned over to the police by a phone call, social media and other ways. To offer information, call 215-686-TIPS or go to www.ppdonline.com.
“These people are a menace to society, and we’re asking for the public to give us information. We need to get these killers off the streets,” Nutter said.
Walker, who was a year away from retirement, is the tenth Philadelphia Police officer to die in the line of duty since Officer Gary Skerski was shot to death on May 8, 2008. Officers William Barclay, Charles Cassidy, Stephen Liczbinski, Isabel Nazario, Patrick McDonald, Timothy Simpson, John Pawlowski and most recently, Brian Lorenzo, all fell in the line of duty.
“This department has been through an awful lot,” said Ramsey. “We’ve lost a lot of officers, more than some departments get in 20 years. As you can see the video isn’t very clear, but they’re probably from the area since they were hanging around that early in the morning.”
Capt. Clark said that while no suspects have been named yet, investigators are questioning a man who witnessed the murder. Police are also questioning a fourth individual who was in a white car and who had an arrest warrant for robbery. Clark did not release the name of the individual, but did say they were under arrest for that robbery and was being questioned in Walker’s murder also.
“That robbery is similar to this one,” Clark said. “There have been three or four robberies in the vicinity that fit the same pattern. This individual may not be one of the suspects but he is under arrest for an earlier robbery. We do not believe the witness is associated with the two killers.”
Originated in 1962, The Philadelphia Antiques Show has grown into one of the most prominent shows in the United States — famed for its wide array of decorative pieces and furnishings. Mayor Michael A. Nutter joined show officials yesterday to announce that the 2012 Show will move to a new home in Center City, Philadelphia — the Pennsylvania Convention Center.
“This is going to be an exciting event in this city,” said Nutter. “Where else to celebrate Americana than in the birthplace of America? Not only in Philadelphia, but downtown in the newly expanded, updated and spectacular Convention Center. Philadelphia is known for our eds, meds and beds.” The Philadelphia Antiques Show combines all of them. Last year, about 10,000 people visited the show and stayed at our great hotels. The proceeds from the Antiques Show benefit University of Pennsylvania Medicine. This year, the Philadelphia Antiques Show will be even bigger as it moves to its new home, the Pennsylvania Convention Center.”
One of the longest running shows in the country, the show debuted on April 24, 1962 as the University Hospital Antiques Show at the 33rd Street Armory in West Philadelphia. Since its founding, the show has moved to several locations, and was hosted most recently at The Navy Yard, Philadelphia Cruise Terminal at Pier One. The change in venue will feature a larger floor plan, and a new logo to bring antiques into the 21st century.
“Moving the show to the Pennsylvania Convention Center allows patrons the chance to purchase the finest, most exquisite treasures from over 50 antiques dealers featured in our largest floor plan ever,” says show chairwoman Gretchen Riley. “With the new layout of the show, we also decided to elevate the look of our brand with a fresh logo that we hope inspires a new generation of collectors to attend the show and begin collections of their own.”
In addition to the new location and show dates, proceeds from the 51st Philadelphia Antiques Show will continue to raise funds for its beneficiary, the University of Pennsylvania Health System, and will help establish the Penn Lung Transplant Ex Vivo Lung Perfusion Center.
Occupy Philadelphia protesters have been given 48 hours to move from their City Hall encampment.
Mayor Michael Nutter said on Friday the demonstrators have until 5 p.m. Sunday to leave their current spot to make way for a $50 million Dilworth Plaza renovation project.
“Last week, the city posted an Official Notice that construction was imminent,” Nutter said. “Today, I am happy to report that the city has approved a building permit for Center City District and its general contractor, clearing the way for the start of this 27-month construction process and the many jobs associated with it. And so now, I am announcing that as of 5 p.m. today everyone now encamped on Dilworth Plaza has 48-hours to remove their possessions and themselves from the project site, which will be fenced for the construction project and public’s safety starting some time next week.”
The protesters have lived next to City Hall since early October as a statement about what they call economic injustice and in solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street movement, which began on Sept. 17.
The mayor has cited what he called "serious health and safety issues" at the current Occupy Philadelphia encampment, saying conditions there are "intolerable," and officials said they do not want to see a repeat of the 24-hour occupation at the new site.
Nutter also announced that a permit to protest at Thomas Paine Plaza was granted to Occupy Philadelphia Reasonable Solutions, an Occupy splinter group that met with city officials earlier and presented a petition with more than 500 signatures supporting a move.
“The people associated with Occupy Philadelphia Reasonable Solutions have been at Dilworth Plaza from Day One,” Nutter said. “They have slept on the site and they have participated in events for the last seven weeks. They are not and never were trying to stop the Dilworth Plaza construction project, a beautiful remake of the plaza built by the 99 percent for the 99 percent. In its appeal of the City’s rejection of its permit application, the group said it wanted to continue its citizen action and lobbying activity. Occupy Philadelphia Reasonable Solutions wants economic and social justice for the less fortunate in this great nation of ours. That is something that I and my administration work for every day.”
In recent weeks, the level of conflict within Occupy Philadelphia has been highlighted by public discontent and finger-pointing. The formerly leaderless movement now has at least three entities, and several spokespersons.
“Nutter has patently not communicated with us,” said Occupy Philly member Jennifer Starwood, 28. “He has communicated with Reasonable Solutions under the guise of communicating with Occupy Philly, which is poor politicking. The Occupy Movement is about corporate accountability, bank accountability and government responsibility to us...I don't care about where our political voice comes from in terms of space, it's important that our political voice be heard everywhere we are. Reasonable Solutions wants to turn it into a site, or a battle, about space, and that just seems petty to me.”
According to Nutter, a one-month permit was granted to Occupy Philadelphia Reasonable Solutions that allows for people to protest at Thomas Paine Plaza, which is located across the street from City Hall, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.
No tents or overnight camping will be allowed. One canopy will be allowed for an information booth and shelter for computer equipment.
—The Associated Press contributed to this report
Students at Girard College gave His Royal Highness Prince Edward, the third son of the United Kingdom’s Queen Elizabeth, a warm welcome Thursday during a visit to commemorate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
“He really was a jokester,” said Kira Cossa, a senior at Girard College and participant in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Philadelphia program. “I was a little nervous, but he was really nice.”
The prince, who is chairman of the board of the International Council of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award International Association and seventh in line for the British crown, met with about 20 local participants of the award program from Girard College, Science Leadership Academy and Valley Forge Military Academy. He also planted a Magnolia Elizabeth tree — named after his mother — at the northeast corner of the administration building. The planting, to honor the Queen’s 60 years on the throne, mirrored a similar gesture made in 1860 by Prince Edward’s great-great-grandfather King George VII, when he was Prince of Wales.
That visit was the first by a member of the royal family to the United States.
Prince Edward said he didn’t think the city would have to wait that long for another visit.
“You’ve made me feel very welcome here this afternoon,” he told a group of about 200 students gathered on the lawn for the tree planting. “I hope that some other member of the family may get here before 2162. That seems rather a long time to wait for something else to turn up here.”
Noting that the tree planted in 1860 was still flourishing, he told students that he was looking for someone to take care of his magnolia tree.
“If it doesn’t last quite so long, I know who to come complain to,” he joked.
As if to remind him that he was in North Philadelphia, an passing SUV blaring hip-hop music briefly blared over Prince Edward’s speech.
Despite the royal’s string of titles that includes Earl of Wessex, he impressed students at the Girard with his good manners and easy sense of humor.
“He was so much nicer than I thought,” reiterated Cossa.
“I said ‘nice to meet you your Royal Highness,’” said Gregory Wright, another senior who met the Prince. “He said, ‘I’m pleased to meet you.’ I was surprised.”
Students practiced for several days for their audience with the Prince.
The event was attended by the school’s president, Autumn Adkins Graves and Mayor Michael Nutter as well as Bernard Smalley, president of the board of trustees and Oliver St. C. Franklin, OBE, Honorary British Consul in Philadelphia.
“This is an historic occasion and a treat for our students,” Nutter said. “On behalf of a million and half people and growing, we welcome you.”
The mayor also singled out one member of his staff who is British: Luke Butler, the mayor’s special assistant.
“The British influence is throughout city government,” he quipped.
Nutter presented the prince with a small replica of the Liberty Bell and Graves gave him a print of the Girard College campus as it appeared in 1860. The Prince of Wales visited the college then because it was the highest point in the city and visitors often climbed to the roofs of campus buildings to get a bird’s eye view.
The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award – named after the Prince’s father, the Queen’s consort – mentors students between the ages of 14 and 25 in 132 countries. Participants take part in a series of community services projects that highlight service, physical recreation, skill development and an adventurous journey, at three different skill levels. The program was established in 1956 and came to Philadelphia in 2009. There are 75 participants living in Philadelphia: 30 bronze medalists and 15 silver medalists. The first gold level awards are expected to be awarded in the fall.
Lisa Nutter, wife of Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter and an expert on childhood development, will headline the 16th Annual Awareness Dinner of the Montgomery County Commission on Women and Families (MCCWF) on October 25 at Whitemarsh Valley Country Club.
Nutter is president of Philadelphia Academies, Inc., a non-profit youth development organization that works to provide career-based learning, college readiness supports and positive adult networks that motivate young people to graduate and prepare them for the 21st century economy.
Michele Kristofco, community relations specialist at the Montgomery County Office of Children and Youth, will be honored as Service Provider of the Year.
The theme of this year’s dinner is “Montgomery County Service Providers: Supporting Neighbors in Need.”
“It is always difficult to choose an honoree, but Michele has exhibited such passion for her work with children, and often is the face of Office of Children and Youth (OCY) in our community,” said Leslie Richards, vice chair of the Montgomery County Commissioners.
In addition to her work with the Office of Children and Youth, Kristofco works tirelessly for SuperKIDS, a non-profit organization that benefits children known to OCY.
“Michele believes that we, as a community, need groups like SuperKIDS to make sure that abused and neglected children have both material and emotional support to “right-size” their opportunities,” said Dana Greenspan, chair of the MCCWF.
The mission of the Montgomery County Commission on Women and Families is to foster leadership, provide awareness of existing services, promote development of resources and advocate equal access to such resources in order to enhance the lives of women and families.
Two firefighters were killed and two others seriously injured while fighting to control a massive five-alarm inferno in the Kensington section of Philadelphia.
The firemen were killed when the ceiling and a wall collapsed inside a furniture store that was burning at Boston Street and Kensington Avenue. They have been identified as Lt. Robert Neary, 60, and firefighter Daniel Sweeney, 25. Both men were attached to Ladder 10 of the Philadelphia Fire Department.
“It is with profound sadness that I announce the deaths of two of Philadelphia firefighters who perished early this morning in the line of duty during a five alarm fire,” said Mayor Michael Nutter. “These firefighters made the ultimate sacrifice for the people of Philadelphia. This is a tremendous loss for their families and the city of Philadelphia. My prayers go out to their families and to the Philadelphia Fire Department, whose members have lost two of their brothers.
“My thoughts also go out to the firefighters and the families of those who were injured in the line of duty this morning. We are grateful that they are receiving the top medical care available. Our first responders — our firefighters, police officers and paramedics — are our heroes and make unimaginable sacrifices each and every day for the citizens of Philadelphia. I would like to thank them for their service, and our hearts go out to those who have lost their colleagues and friends.”
According to Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers, the fire started inside a warehouse at East York and Jasper Streets at 3:13 a.m. Because of the high winds and dry conditions, the blaze quickly escalated to a 5-alarm inferno that spread to six houses and the Giamari Furniture Store. The fire was declared under control around 5:15 a.m.
"We have two firefighters that lost their lives," said a shaken Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers. Ayers said that Neary and Sweeney were with three other firefighters were inside battling the peripheral blaze when the ceiling of the store and a wall collapsed. It took almost two hours to dig the injured personnel out. "We're asking for prayers for the families. We’re getting a lot of support. Just as we serve our citizens, right now they’re serving us.”
As the fire engulfed the warehouse, high winds blew hot embers to six nearby houses, causing damage but fortunately, no further deaths or injuries. The Red Cross of Southeastern Pennsylvania was on hand and offered comfort and assistance to the displaced local residents.
According to a statement released by the firefighters’ union, Neary had 38 years with the Philadelphia Fire Department after serving three years in the Philadelphia Police Department. He leaves behind a wife, Diane and three adult children, Robert, Christopher and Dianne.
Sweeney, according to the union statement, joined the fire department in 2006, and is the son of a retired Philadelphia fire captain, David Sweeney. He was unmarried.
Seriously injured by the fire were firefighters Francis Chaney, 43, and Patrick Nally, 25. Chaney is an eight-year veteran of the department and Nally has served five years. Both were listed in stable condition, and Nally was released.
Too bad for now fired Philadelphia Police Lieutenant Jonathan Josey that he punched a Puerto Rican woman in public instead of secretly pilfering federal funds earmarked for the poor.
Had Josey merely stolen from the poor instead of smashing a much smaller woman, he’d probably still have his Philadelphia Police Department job – like a group of PPD employees caught stealing.
And, had Josey, a 19-year PPD veteran, pilfered instead of punched he probably would not now face that criminal charge lodged against him last week by the District Attorney’s Office.
The DA’s Office hasn’t charged those PPD employees caught stealing.
Josey is the African-American (former) police supervisor caught on cell phone video punching a woman who Josey didn’t personally see committing any crime.
That viral video added more incriminating evidence to the brutality-stained image of the Philadelphia Police Department.
This video shows Aida Guzman walking away with her back turned to Josey when he quickly spun around, stepped toward Guzman and smashed her in the face during a parade at the end of September.
The prima facie evidence of Josey’s attack on that video seemingly shows an excessive use of force by a policeman which is illegal — irrespective of Guzman’s alleged provocation which police initially claimed was her either shouting or using harmless Silly String.
Too bad for Josey that video captured his “enforcement act,” thus eroding his ability to convince police investigators that he didn’t do what evidence showed he did.
This ex-police supervisor has a record of over a dozen citizen complaints — many claiming physical abuse — which police previously dismissed as unsubstantiated.
Too many in police work see citizen complaints as a “badge of honor” proving that they are “aggressive” in doing their jobs properly.
While Josey's [alleged] September assault made headlines, Philadelphia Police Department officials hid their quiet discipline of seven department employees caught stealing funds from a low-income energy assistance program.
That gang of seven PPD employees, including a staff member of a Deputy Police Commissioner, admitted fraudulently obtaining cash grants established to assist low-income residents to pay their utility bills.
Although those thieves admitted their crimes when confronted by police investigators, Police Department officials refused to discharge or criminally charge any of those thieves, opting instead for wrist-slap suspensions ranging from three to fifteen days.
So far, the DA’s Office hasn’t filed any charges for that criminal theft from the poor and taxpayers funding that federal program.
However, the DA’s Office said it “does not comment” on its investigations when declining a request to comment on whether that office plans charges or is just following the PPD lead of sweeping that stolen funds matter under the proverbial rug.
Adding insult to the injury of stealing from the poor, one of those seven PPD employees receiving internal discipline is a detective lieutenant who earned $94,000 last year according to city records.
Last week Philly prosecutors hit Jonathan Josey with a simple assault charge for his attack on Aida Guzman…an assault that appeared on video as more aggravated than simple.
Guzman, a Chester, Pa resident, received an immediate post-Josey pummeling when police slapped her with a disorderly conduct charge that authorities later withdrew.
Commendably, Guzman did receive an apology from Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter.
Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams termed the force Josey used when confronting Guzman as “not necessary” when Williams announced the misdemeanor criminal charge against Josey last week.
Too bad Jonathan Josey couldn’t claim a proxy status with the Israeli government so he could raise a ‘right-of-self-defense’ to excuse his assault on Guzman comparable to the standard excuse Israeli officials routinely raise for their recurring use of excessive force against defenseless Palestinians living in Gaza.
DA Williams, when announcing the charge against Josey, stated what should be a self-evident truth: “It doesn’t matter if you are a doctor, lawyer, and monsignor of a church, police officer or bus driver…Justice demands that we apply our law fairly.”
While Williams is right that no one is above the law, the persistent problem is that ‘equal-justice-for-all’ mandate is ignored by individuals, organizations and nations intent on enforcing their Might-Makes-Right code.
Just like Israel having its ardent defenders Josey receives strident support from Philadelphia’s police union, the Fraternal Order of Police.
FOP President John McNesby vowed to defeat the criminal charge against Josey and get Josey restored to the PPD through the union-favoring arbitration system.
The FOP is a tenacious defender of police involved in brutality.
Rarely if ever does the FOP acknowledge that those illegal acts of brutality are both legally wrong and counter-productive to good policing that needs citizen support to succeed.
Earlier this year the FOP beat-up on the City’s Police Advisory Commission – the independent agency that monitors police conduct.
FOP Prez McNesby pounded the PAC, bashing it as “reckless [and a] direct threat to public safety.”
Since the PAC is underfunded-&-understaffed by City Hall and Police Commissioners routinely ignore its mostly mild recommendations, what caused McNesby to beat that agency like it shot a police officer?
The PAC had simply suggested that officers apologize to citizens who filed complaints.
With so many big problems in the world like debilitating recession, devastating climate change and war crimes in the Middle East, what is the big deal about a cop punching a woman?
Because downplaying small problems spark bigger problems.
Linn Washington Jr. is a graduate of the Yale Law Journalism Fellowship Program.