Protest set today over man fatally shot in '08 by off-duty cop

Allen
Allen
Posted: January 13, 2010

Terry Bowen is tired of waiting.

Today, she will go on the offensive in her quest for justice for her son, Lawrence Allen, who was unarmed when he was gunned down more than a year ago by an off-duty Philadelphia police sergeant.

Bowen, members of the Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action Network, and about 100 others will gather at 11 a.m. outside the 22nd District's headquarters, at 17th Street and Montgomery Avenue, to protest former District Attorney Lynne Abraham's decision not to file criminal charges against the cop, Chauncey Ellison.

Ellison used to work in the 22nd District. He's been on desk duty since he allegedly shot Allen in the back in West Oak Lane on Nov. 17, 2008, following a dispute.

Allen, a 20-year-old father of three, was left paralyzed from the chest down. He died three months later, after battling numerous infections and dropping more than half of his body weight.

The Daily News learned last Tuesday that Abraham, in one of her last actions as district attorney, sent a note to Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey, saying that she declined to criminally charge Ellison.

"My faith is actually shot, to be honest with you. It's like, I trust no one," Bowen said.

"I feel like the case was pushed under the rug, and that if we don't do anything, the stuff that happened to me will happen to other people."

Numerous witnesses said Ellison was enraged on the night of the shooting as he searched for a man who had robbed and punched his 14-year-old son.

He chased a suspect to Renovo Street near 20th, where he enountered Allen, who lived on the block, and a number of Allen's friends and relatives. The two exchanged words.

Witnesses said another off-duty cop, Robin Fortune, loudly encouraged Ellison to take action against Allen.

Ramsey promised to decide soon if he will take displinary actions against Ellison. District Attorney Seth Williams also pledged to review the case.

Greg Brinkley, the president of the Philadelphia chapter of the National Action Network, said the civil rights group is troubled by the fact that local law enforcment officials reacted quickly to a similar incident involving an off-duty cop who fatally shot an unarmed man, while Ellison's case languished.

Officer Frank Tepper was fired Jan. 4, less than two months after he gunned down William "Billy" Panas Jr. during a melee in Port Richmond that involved Tepper's relatives. Abraham gave the case to a grand jury.

Tepper and Panas are white; Ellison and Allen are black.

"We're not surprised at the actions of Lynne Abraham, who has always devalued African-American lives by virtue of all of the uncharged, unresolved police shooting cases," Brinkley said.

"This man [Allen] got shot in the back. You had witnesses. How do you justify not pressing charges?"

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