November 26, 1995 |
For most of the last two decades, the conventional wisdom about police had them doing no wrong. Any gritty, clean-the-scum-from-the-streets series on TV has been a sure winner. Politicians complain only that we don't have enough police, or enough prisons, to hold the scum the police arrest. Lately, another view has emerged, which tends to see the police as villains. Nationally, it can be traced to the videotaped beating of Rodney King, Mark Fuhrman's racist talk, and the trigger-happy feds at Waco and Ruby Ridge.
November 19, 1995 |
The Philadelphia Police Department's procedure for punishing errant officers is a landscape of second, third and fourth chances. A close look at the process shows that it serves no one well, least of all the public. The Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) complains that the system lacks due process. Police commissioners have complained for years that it checks their power to act decisively. Lawyers representing citizens say the system protects only police officers. It is dizzyingly complex, secretive, inconclusive and often contradictory.
September 25, 1995 |
How big is the 39th District police scandal? Big enough that at least two Philadelphia lawyers are advertising for potential clients who may have been victims of misconduct by the district's rogue cops. Both say they are merely trying to serve the public, but critics - including honest cops - say lawyers who advertise for police abuse cases are nothing more than ambulance chasers. So far, six police officers in the 39th District have pleaded guilty to federal charges of stealing money from drug suspects and falsifying police records in a widening scandal that has rocked the Police Department.
August 28, 1995 |
The burgeoning police corruption scandal should deeply trouble the citizens of Philadelphia. Significant numbers of officers have routinely abused and in many cases terrorized the public they were sworn to protect. If the most recent allegations concerning the Highway Patrol are true, thousands of persons will have been subjected to false arrests, theft and physical brutality. Whether the disclosures made to date reflect the extent of wrongdoing or, as many suspect, are just the tip of an iceberg of police misconduct and corruption, the damage inflicted is irreparable.
July 22, 1995 |
It took the slaughter at Waco to display abusive police power at its most grotesque. That inferno was engendered by a contempt for human and legal proprieties, in turn nourished by thousands of daily affronts to justice provoked by hatred of the have-nots, the marginal in a society of widening social divisions. Across the country, the police know better than anyone that on the scales of public sympathy "enforcement" in the name of public safety now weighs more than rights of suspects and the accused.
March 6, 1995 |
The two Philadelphia police officers yanked him from his car and told him he was a drug dealer. Then they took him to a crack house and strip-searched him. And smacked him, choked him, put a gun to his head. And cocked it. Finally, they jailed him and ransacked his apartment. Through the long, horrifying night, Arthur Colbert Jr., a Temple student in criminal justice with a wondrous blind faith in the system, maintained a shocking optimism. He would nail these guys. The system would work for him. If he lived.
March 5, 1995 |
A 40-year-old West Grove man has been charged with sexually abusing three youngsters, all brothers, from his neighborhood and bribing them to perform sexual acts with him during the last four years, state police said. Donald Ralph Haney Jr., of Prospect Ave. in West Grove, was arraigned Tuesday morning on a total of 70 counts each of criminal solicitation, corruption of minors, indecent assault, endangering the welfare of children, and indecent exposure; 20 counts each of rape, statutory rape, and involuntary deviant sexual intercourse; and two counts of aggravated indecent assault.
February 12, 1995 |
Ramadan Mahmoud Ahmed said his police interrogators blindfolded him, cuffed back his hands, and stripped him to his underpants. They demanded to know about his law clients, who were accused of belonging to a violent Islamic campaign to overthrow the government. When Ahmed refused to betray his clients, he said, his interrogators clipped electric wires to his toes and upper arms. "All my body would shake when they connected the electricity," he recalled in an interview. "A second or two. Then off. On and off for an hour or more.
November 2, 1994 |
A 22-year-old black man who was cited for disorderly conduct last month by township police testified yesterday that he was subjected to beatings, insults and racial slurs after being taken into police custody for no apparent reason. The testimony by Jerome Jones Jr. of Chester is the second case in recent weeks in which African Americans have complained that members of the all-white Ridley police force have acted in a racially biased manner. Last week, residents of the Kinder Park public housing development protested that an officer pulled a gun on a 14-year-old African American boy who was taking out the garbage.
November 1, 1994 |
Municipal Court officials here are seeking a special judge and prosecutor to handle the case of two black motorists who say they were assaulted by two white police officers during a traffic stop. The predicament developed after the Burlington County prosecutor's office, which was asked to consider indictments in the case, instead returned the complaints to the Willingboro Municipal Court, saying they were not of an indictable nature. Both Municipal Court Judge Marie White Bell and prosecutor John Collins have disqualified themselves from handling the case, saying they deal with the police on a regular basis.