Clout: OH, SHOOT: Truth once again in question in Council candidate's gun charges

Oh: Gun discharge, case dismissed.
Oh: Gun discharge, case dismissed. (STEVEN M. FALK / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER)
Posted: September 02, 2011

YOU'D THINK that a guy who graduated from law school, served three years in the District Attorney's Office and has been an attorney for more than two decades would be able to recall how his own arrest on gun charges ended.

But now that we know that David Oh misrepresented himself as a U.S. Army Green Beret in three political campaigns across eight years, we're not shocked that he couldn't nail the details of how that gun case wrapped up.

Oh, who was questioned three times by police about pulling guns in his Cobbs Creek neighborhood in the 1990s, was charged the third time with shooting in the air to scare a group he thought were prostitutes and drug dealers near his family's home.

It was actually an undercover squad out there fighting crime.

Oh, a Republican seeking a City Council at-large seat, says that he was "the only order on that street at one point in time."

Speaking about the case in an interview last month, Oh accused the police who arrested him of doing a bad job responding to neighborhood complaints about crime.

Theresa Brunson was a rookie assistant district attorney assigned to Oh's non-jury trial in front of Municipal Judge Lydia Kirkland in mid-1995.

Oh told us that he could not remember what year he was arrested but twice insisted in the interview that the gun charges were dismissed in a preliminary hearing and not after a non-jury trial.

Brunson says that she "very vividly" recalls the trial and how Kirkland volunteered to recuse herself because she knew Oh from his time at the District Attorney's Office.

Two factors played a role in Kirkland finding Oh not guilty.

Oh's attorney argued that he was on his property when he pulled the guns. His family owned several properties on the block at 58th Street and Thomas Avenue.

And then several attorneys stood up in court during the trial to vouch for Oh's character.

"I remember thinking: What the heck just happened?" Brunson recalled. "But - wink, wink - he had good character."

Brunson said that the police didn't understand the verdict.

"They were very unhappy about it," she said. "From what I recalled, he had a lot of guns on his person."

Oh, still smarting from our column two weeks ago debunking his Green Beret claims, offered to meet this week but changed his mind when he learned we had more questions about the case.

Oh last month told us that his Cobbs Creek neighborhood had been plagued with hookers and drugs.

It is a story laced with tough-guy talk about how he, as a former Special Forces officer, wasn't going to put up with all that. Oh has since admitted that he tried out for the Special Forces but did not complete the training.

Oh told us that he was falsely accused twice of pulling a gun on people, once when car windows were smashed on his block and again when a teenager was shooting at windows of a recreation center with a pellet gun. Both times, Oh was questioned at the local police station and released.

Oh, who admitted that he pulled guns in the third incident but declined to say if he fired them, said that the police officers who charged him wanted to make a point after the first two gun accusations.

Oh did not sound at all like he regrets the third gun incident.

"There was an issue of: Who is imposing their will?" Oh said. "If the police aren't coming out, they're not doing their job, we're going to do something. We're not going to break the law but we're going to do something."

Nutter, Tasco and DROP

You can't make it in Philly politics without the capacity to put up with a little cognitive dissonance. Just ask Mayor Nutter.

He has repeatedly failed to get City Council to kill the controversial and expensive Deferred Retirement Option Plan (DROP.) He is also widely expected to back Council Majority Leader Marian Tasco's bid to be elected Council President in January.

That election will take place just a few days after Tasco takes a $478,057 DROP payment, retires for a day and returns to work.

Tasco has been a strong, vocal DROP supporter for years.

Nutter on Tuesday started pushing a petition on his campaign website, criticizing Council for not killing DROP and asking voters to apply a little pressure.

Nutter, who has the worst political poker face in the city, four times yesterday refused to say if he would get involved in the race for Council president. That's like Ed Rendell saying that he's not sure if he'll get involved with a hoagie at an Eagles tailgate party.

Nutter's campaign said that from Tuesday to yesterday, about 1,000 people signed the DROP petition.

"I want to end the DROP program," Nutter said. "If I could do it by myself, I would. I can't. And so I need City Council to vote to end the program."

Wiki-obsessive disorder

Someone calling himself "Zulitz" on the website Wikipedia.com is quite the fan of state Rep. Mark Cohen. Zulitz has tinkered with Cohen's 12,000-word biography on the website 1,109 times since 2006, including 442 edits in August.

The biography is so finely tuned that other Wikipedia users have challenged that it violates the website's mandate for a neutral tone. A review is under way.

Cohen, who calls the biography "well documented," said that he is not Zulitz. He passed along a message to Zulitz, who sadly didn't want to talk Wikipedia with us.

Maybe Zulitz was too busy editing the page to call?

Quotable:

"It is best not to engage in dialogue with protesters. If you are presenting and a conference attendee interrupts your comments, a session monitor will approach the individual and ask for the disruption to cease. If he/she does not comply, security will be summoned."

- From a "safety and security" email sent yesterday to people attending a convention here next week about natural-gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale region.


Have tips or suggestions? Call Chris Brennan at 215-854-5973 or e-mail

brennac@phillynews.com.

Check out the Clout blog at:

www.phillyclout.com and follow on Twitter @ChrisBrennanDN.


Have a news tip? Gossip? Suggestion? Call Chris Brennan at 215-854-5973 or Catherine Lucey at 215-854-4712. Or e-mail phillyclout@phillynews.com.

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