The Philadelphia police have taken another step in the direction of transparency and building community trust in the city. Up to 31 police officers assigned to the 22nd district will be wearing body cameras while on duty and serving the community. The officers volunteered to be a part of testing the new policing technology.

The trial started with officers testing six different brands/models during the day work tour of duty. The use of the cameras will progressively move to day and night work tours as the pilot program continues. The entire testing program is expected to conclude in approximately six months. During this initiative, officers will evaluate the performance of each body camera, as well as test the process of collecting and storing captured footage in an evidence management system.

Upon conclusion of the testing phase, the department will evaluate all aspects of the program and make recommendations on how the department and the city can implement a long term, permanent body camera program. The department is striving to implement a program that will be practical, efficient and cost effective, while providing the best service to officers and residents of Philadelphia.

Germantown blaze under investigation

Philadelphia police and fire officials are investigating a suspicious fire that broke out in the city’s Germantown section early on Monday morning.

The blaze, which is a suspected firebombing, was reported just before 3:30 a.m. at a residence in the unit block of E. Coulter Street, officials said. Firefighters quickly extinguished a fire near the front door. There were eight people inside and everyone escaped without injury. Investigators believe the fire was the result of a neighborhood dispute between local youths. So far no arrests have been made.

Murder suspect to be extradited from Georgia

Homicide detectives report they have arrested a suspect wanted for a deadly shooting that happened in September.

Jason “Cassius” Broaster, 18, from the 2500 block of W. Harold Street was arrested in Atlanta, Ga., without incident. He was taken into custody based on investigative information developed by the Philadelphia Police Department’s Homicide Unit and the Philadelphia U.S. Marshal Service Fugitive Task Force. After a scheduled extradition hearing, Broaster will be transported from Atlanta to Philadelphia to be charged with homicide and related offenses in connection with the fatal shooting of Naaire Murray, 17, from the 2400 block of W. Huntingdon Street.

On Sept. 8 at 8:50 p.m., police officers were called to the 2400 block of W. Huntingdon Street in response to a report of gunfire. When officers arrived they found Murray, who was suffering from a gunshot wound to the chest. He was rushed to Temple University Hospital and pronounced dead at 10:50 p.m.

Investigators believe the motive was an argument and suspected Broaster as being accused as the shooter early on. Broaster’s father is Cassius Broaster, and he is the nephew of Jerome Broaster. In 2002 former Philadelphia Police Commissioner Sylvester Johnson characterized the Broaster brothers as “the worst people in the city as far as violence is concerned.” Their names surfaced during the investigation into the murder of 10-year old Faheem Thomas Childs.

In Nov. 2012 federal authorities indicted the Broaster brothers on federal drug charges. Charged are Jerome Broaster; Elliott Broaster; Cassius Broaster, 37; Larkeem Broaster; Shannon Powell; Nick Higgens and Ronald Johnson.

Jerome Broaster was charged in 20 counts of a superseding indictment, including two drug conspiracy offenses. In the first drug conspiracy charge, Jerome Broaster and Powell are alleged to have conspired to distribute 100 grams or more of PCP between August-October 2011. They also are charged with two counts of distribution of 100 grams or more of PCP and two counts of distribution of 100 grams or more of PCP within 1,000 feet of a public school. In the second drug conspiracy charge, Jerome Broaster and Elliott Broaster are alleged to have conspired to distribute 100 grams or more of PCP between August 2011 and August 2012. They are also charged with three counts of distribution of PCP and three counts of distribution of PCP within 1,000 feet of a school. Jerome Broaster is also charged with one count of distribution of PCP and one count of distribution of PCP within 1,000 feet of a school in September 2011.

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