November 15, 2015 |
Philadelphia Police Officer Michael Spicer, recently acquitted of corruption charges after being implicated in a wide-ranging federal investigation of police misconduct, was promoted to sergeant Friday in a special ceremony at City Hall. Sgt. Joseph McCloskey, who supervised Spicer and five other narcotics officers charged in the criminal case and testified on their behalf, was also promoted Friday to the rank of lieutenant. A law enforcement source said the Police Department had opposed the promotions, so the ceremony was held at City Hall and coordinated by Deputy Mayor Everett Gillison in lieu of a representative from the department.
October 19, 2015 |
For two decades, the Police Advisory Commission has battled abuse by Philadelphia officers but felt powerless to do its job. Despite being the official civilian oversight agency for police misconduct, it had no regular access to the department's own investigations of shootings - and little recourse. That's changed. Under the Police Department's new rules on shootings by officers, the PAC's director will have equal standing with four deputy commissioners in deciding whether or not police actions are justified.
October 16, 2015 |
WHEN YOU'RE resigning your job and your boss the mayor is in tears and the president sends you an attaboy, you've done well. Mayor Nutter's eyes welled up announcing Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey's decision to retire and President Obama thanked him for almost 50 years of leadership with large law enforcement agencies, including Philadelphia. A soft-talking, low-key, straight shooter, the 65-year-old Ramsey is our most popular public official. An astounding 75 percent of Philadelphians approve of Ramsey's job performance, while 57 percent approve of Nutter's, according to a recent poll (commissioned by Nutter, by the way)
August 10, 2015 |
In the context of events outside professional football, accusations that racism played a role in Eagles coach Chip Kelly's decisions to trade several black players are understandable, though not believable. In recent months, this country has seen evidence of the unequal treatment African Americans face at the hands of police, at times resulting in death. It has heard charged rhetoric in defense of an odious emblem embraced by racist groups, the Confederate battle flag. Meanwhile, schemes persist to further erode protections provided to blacks by the Voting Rights Act. With such evidence of racial discord playing in the background, Kelly traded running back LeSean McCoy in March and cornerback Brandon Boykin last week, only to have them echo wide receiver DeSean Jackson, who suggested after being traded last year that race played a role in Kelly's decision.
August 5, 2015 |
Philadelphia suburb Deptford Township has the wrong perspective on New Jersey's effort to equip all state troopers and police officers with body cameras, which local officials criticize as an unfunded mandate. Body cameras are fast on their way to becoming as ubiquitous as guns and body armor in police departments. While a number of high-profile recent cases have shown that cameras can create valuable records of police misconduct, they can also protect officers from false allegations.
April 25, 2015 |
The Democratic primary for mayor went negative this week with a website whose caustic tone spread like an Internet virus to other campaigns. State Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams launched ProgressivePhilly.com, which suggested that former City Councilman James F. Kenney and former District Attorney Lynne M. Abraham had been soft on rogue cops in their political careers. Kenney's campaign, during the taping of a debate to be aired Thursday evening on Fox29, issued an e-mail hitting Abraham on some of the same issues raised by the Williams website.
April 18, 2015 |
What started as a simple dispute when Anthony S. Jones refused to remove his hat in a courtroom escalated, with Jones facing serious charges, a public defender alleging she was punched by a Philadelphia police officer, and claims of police misconduct. Last Friday in Municipal Court Judge Marvin Williams' courtroom, Jones, who was in the Criminal Justice Center as a defendant on another matter, was ordered by an official to remove his hat. According to the police report, Jones, 22, of the Rhawnhurst section of the city, was screaming and cursing in the hallway after he was ejected from the courtroom.
April 1, 2015 |
It was billed as a conversation with the mayoral candidates - and the discussion wandered far and wide Monday night. Doug Oliver, for instance, allowed that black men have reason to fear police. But police, he said, have as much reason to fear black men. Lynne Abraham bemoaned "dark, crummy, cramped cabs" in arguing that start-ups like Uber and Lyft should have a chance to compete here, so long as they are fairly regulated. Jim Kenney acknowledged that he frequently had blocked Twitter followers who annoyed him, calling the practice "liberating.
March 18, 2015
PHILADELPHIA'S getting another national black eye, this time in Rolling Stone , thanks to what looks like illegal, out-of-control behavior by some Philly cops. To anyone living here, that's not an aha! moment. Barbara Laker and Wendy Ruderman won a Pulitzer for a series exposing it, and the Daily News, the Inquirer and other publications have carried dozens of stories on disgraceful police misconduct in recent years. Difference is, Rolling Stone earlier this month put the suspected criminals-in-blue on a national stage.
March 9, 2015 |
The heinous murder of Officer Robert Wilson III is another jarring reminder of what is at stake when a man or woman puts on a badge and takes an oath to protect and serve the rest of us. In the context of recent protests of alleged police misconduct in places like Ferguson, Mo., and Staten Island, N.Y., Officer Wilson's sacrifice takes on even greater significance. Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey alluded to those incidents in praising Officer Wilson, who was fatally shot while stopping an attempted robbery Thursday in North Philadelphia.