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Deadly Force

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NEWS
May 10, 1987 | By Thomas Palmer, Boston Globe (Inquirer staff writer Paul Horvitz in Trenton contributed to this article.)
When Dirty Harry uttered those icy, menacing words - "Make my day" - in the 1983 movie Sudden Impact, no one watching the vigilante fantasies on screen foresaw a legislative legacy. But actor Clint Eastwood has gone on to become mayor of Carmel, Calif., and there is controversy in Colorado and Oklahoma over deadly-force statutes commonly known as make-my-day laws. "It is essentially a license to kill," said Peter J. Stapp, a Colorado assistant attorney general. On April 30, Gov. Henry Bellmon of Oklahoma signed that state's version of the deadly-force law, over the objections of the state's district attorneys and only after some of the more extreme language was stricken.
NEWS
March 5, 1994
"Enter to Learn, Leave to Serve" commands the sign above the entrance to the Philadelphia Police Training Academy on State Road. Last Saturday, the motto seemed particularly appropriate for the 15 Philadelphians who entered to begin at least 40 hours of training for a hands-on sense of what a police officer confronts every day. The 15 are members of the new Mayor's Police Advisory Commission, whose unpaid job it is to monitor the Philadelphia Police...
NEWS
August 15, 1986
It's astonishing that Philadelphia's police should need a formal directive to keep them from beating suspects senseless in routine arrests, but apparently Commissioner Kevin Tucker believes it's necessary. He has decreed that nightsticks and blackjacks "may not be used to strike an individual with force intended to cause bodily injury or death, unless the officer would be justified in using deadly force. " Unfortunately, the directive comes too late to help Thomas Loyden. The 21- year-old man suffered severe head injuries in April, and is mentally disabled as a result of being hit on the head with a nightstick during his arrest in a neighborhood dispute in the Northeast.
NEWS
March 26, 2015 | Inquirer Editorial Board
Nearly two years ago, a Philly.com report revealed an alarming and puzzling trend: Philadelphia residents had committed fewer violent crimes and fewer assaults on police in 2012 than in the previous year, but the police had shot many more Philadelphians. A subsequent federal review underscores the cause for alarm but leaves less occasion for puzzlement. The Department of Justice report released this week found that the city's officers are not consistently trained or equipped for alternatives to deadly force, nor are they reliably subjected to thorough investigations and oversight when they do fire their weapons.
NEWS
May 4, 2012 | By Maggie Michael, Associated Press
CAIRO - Egypt's ruling generals repeated their pledge Thursday to transfer power to a civilian government within two months, a day after deadly clashes stoked by political tensions brought fresh accusations that the military was trying to create chaos so it could cling to power. At the same time, the ruling military council warned protesters that deadly force would be used against them if they approached the Ministry of Defense. At least 11 people were killed in clashes that broke out Wednesday when apparent supporters of the military rulers attacked a mostly Islamist crowd staging a sit-in outside the Ministry of Defense in Cairo to call for an end to the generals' rule.
NEWS
December 28, 2011 | Associated Press
SOMERSET, Pa. - A man who fatally shot his wife's lover with a bow and arrow will not face criminal charges, in part, because the state's expanded "castle doctrine" makes it legal to use deadly force on one's porch or deck, a prosecutor said Tuesday. State police have repeatedly said they believed the 38-year-old Central City man acted in self-defense when he killed Tony Bittinger, 43, of Salisbury, on Oct. 9. Somerset County District Attorney Jerry Spangler formally announced Tuesday that he agreed with police and that no criminal charges should be filed against the shooter, who has not been named by authorities.
NEWS
June 20, 2012 | By Paul J. Weber and Ramit Plushnick-Masti, Associated Press
SHINER, Texas - Hearing his 5-year-old daughter crying from behind a barn, a father ran and discovered the unthinkable: a man molesting her. The father pulled the man off his daughter, authorities say, and started pummeling him to death with his fists. With his daughter finally safe, the father frantically called 911, begging a dispatcher to find his rural ranch and send an ambulance. "Come on! This guy is going to die on me!" the man is heard screaming on the recording, which authorities played during a news conference Tuesday in which they announced that the father would not face charges.
NEWS
November 16, 2005 | By Gayle Ronan Sims INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
James J. Fyfe, 63, who in his long career in law enforcement went from the streets of New York to teaching criminal science at Temple University before returning to New York as a deputy commissioner, died of cancer Saturday at University Medical Center at Princeton. Raised in Brooklyn, Dr. Fyfe joined the New York Police Department in 1963 as a patrolman. He continued his education, earning a bachelor's degree from John Jay College of Criminal Justice at the City University of New York in 1971, and a master's degree in 1972 and a doctorate in criminal justice in 1978, both from the State University of New York at Albany.
NEWS
July 19, 2000 | By Barbara Boyer and Saba Bireda, INQUIRER STAFF WRITERS
Amtrak's investigation into yesterday's fatal shooting of an unarmed Philadelphia man inside 30th Street Station will focus on whether deadly force was justified and whether the officer followed the agency's policy. Police and criminal-justice experts - and Amtrak's own directives - agree that deadly force should only be a final resort. Yesterday, Amtrak Police Officer Dennis Kelly, 38, shot Robert Brown, 45, once in the abdomen during a confrontation outside the McDonald's restaurant at the station.
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NEWS
March 26, 2015 | Inquirer Editorial Board
Nearly two years ago, a Philly.com report revealed an alarming and puzzling trend: Philadelphia residents had committed fewer violent crimes and fewer assaults on police in 2012 than in the previous year, but the police had shot many more Philadelphians. A subsequent federal review underscores the cause for alarm but leaves less occasion for puzzlement. The Department of Justice report released this week found that the city's officers are not consistently trained or equipped for alternatives to deadly force, nor are they reliably subjected to thorough investigations and oversight when they do fire their weapons.
NEWS
March 20, 2015 | BY DANA DiFILIPPO & DAVID GAMBACORTA, Daily News Staff Writers difilid@phillynews.com, 215-854-5934
THE PHILADELPHIA police officer who shot Brandon Tate-Brown to death during a December car stop in Frankford committed no crimes and will not be charged, District Attorney Seth Williams announced yesterday. Three surveillance tapes, four witnesses, ballistics evidence and DNA results all back up the accounts of the two officers, Williams said. The officers told investigators they pulled Tate-Brown over on Frankford Avenue near Magee around 2:45 a.m. on Dec. 15 because he was driving a rented 2014 Dodge Charger with just its daytime running lights, Williams said.
NEWS
March 7, 2015 | By Aubrey Whelan and Dylan Purcell, Inquirer Staff Writers
Officials of the U.S. Department of Justice said Friday they were postponing the release of their review of the use of deadly force by Philadelphia police. A spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's office said the review would be released at a later date. No reason was given for the delay. The postponement comes as police investigate the shooting death on Thursday of Philadelphia Police Officer Robert Wilson III during a holdup at a video game store in the Swampoodle section of the city.
NEWS
December 17, 2014 | By Craig R. McCoy and Dylan Purcell, Inquirer Staff Writers
Police gunfire ending in death is sharply down in Philadelphia, a trend that follows department efforts to reduce the use of lethal force, police reports show. So far in 2014, police officers have shot and killed four people. By the same date last year, they had killed 12. And in 2012 by this date, officers had killed 16. From 2010 through 2014, one Philadelphia police officer - Moses Walker Jr. - was shot and killed. But Walker, who was shot in 2012 after completing his shift, was not in uniform.
NEWS
July 12, 2014 | By Jason Grant, Inquirer Staff Writer
A U.S. Justice Department team listened for nearly two hours Thursday evening as angry Philadelphians lashed out at the Police Department for what they called a long history of unjustified shootings of young black males by white officers. At turns screaming, crying, or simply glaring straight ahead, a series of residents, most of them African American, including several mothers who said their sons had been unjustly shot by police, approached a microphone in City Council chambers and spoke of their pain.
NEWS
July 24, 2013
AIDED BY Florida's flawed self-defense laws, George Zimmerman won acquittal in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed teenager who was minding his own business walking to his father's home in Sanford. The verdict underscores the urgent need for the criminal-justice system to find a better way to deal with those increasingly prone to use deadly force and claim justifiable homicide. Legal experts seem to agree that the law and the judge's instructions left the jury little choice.
NEWS
July 16, 2013 | By Ronnie Polaneczky, Daily News Columnist
THERE IS no silver lining in the stinking, bloated storm cloud that is the George Zimmerman verdict. But I have been trying desperately to find one. Otherwise, this travesty of justice is too much to bear. Here is what I have come up with so far: 1 Good people of all races have been horrified that Zimmerman was not, at the very least, convicted of involuntary manslaughter. Our rainbow of outrage doesn't make us the colorblind, postracial America we bragged about being when a majority of Americans - composed of all races - elected our first black president.
NEWS
July 16, 2013
It would be a shame if the unnecessary death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin produced more paydays for the man who fatally shot the unarmed black teenager in the heart during a scuffle. But George Zimmerman, the Sanford, Fla., neighborhood watch captain who has already received hundreds of thousands of dollars from gun-rights advocates and other supporters, is likely to be offered millions through lucrative book and movie deals. Zimmerman, 29, was acquitted of second-degree murder and manslaughter charges late Saturday night by a sequestered jury that had deliberated about 16 hours over two days.
NEWS
May 31, 2013
Call it what you want, but taking a closer look at the number of police shootings in Philadelphia makes sense. Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey deserves praise for recognizing that. Too often, law enforcement officials become defensive at the mere suggestion that their department isn't right. That's never been the case with Ramsey. He has consistently insisted that his officers be held accountable, and that policy changes be made when warranted to make the force more professional.
NEWS
June 20, 2012 | By Paul J. Weber and Ramit Plushnick-Masti, Associated Press
SHINER, Texas - Hearing his 5-year-old daughter crying from behind a barn, a father ran and discovered the unthinkable: a man molesting her. The father pulled the man off his daughter, authorities say, and started pummeling him to death with his fists. With his daughter finally safe, the father frantically called 911, begging a dispatcher to find his rural ranch and send an ambulance. "Come on! This guy is going to die on me!" the man is heard screaming on the recording, which authorities played during a news conference Tuesday in which they announced that the father would not face charges.
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