January 8, 2014
The New Jersey Legislature is by now intimately acquainted with the value of cameras in police cars: In a single year, video evidence was used to settle disputes between police officers and two of its own members. True, the Garden State's officials have earned a reputation for unusually frequent run-ins with the law. But their recent experiences suggest enough benefits to the general public and police alike to make cameras standard equipment in patrol vehicles. A bill requiring police departments to equip newly purchased patrol cars with cameras was passed by the state Assembly last month and by a Senate committee on Monday.
December 13, 2013 |
POLICE IN A Bucks County town acted appropriately when they stun-gunned a handcuffed teen fleeing arrest, prosecutors announced yesterday. Joseph Williams, 14, was handcuffed on suspicion of shoplifting and was fleeing arrest on foot when Tullytown cops shot him with a stun gun last month. His scraped-up mug made the rounds on social-media networks after his mother blamed his injuries on a police thrashing. Police maintained that the ninth-grader's face-first fall caused all the damage, including a broken nose.
December 9, 2013 |
This is what Philadelphia police say about James McKenna's conduct: He was drunk and belligerent - and broke his neck banging his head against cell bars. McKenna has a different account of what happened that June night in 2011. He says police arrested him outside a Center City bar and tossed him unrestrained into the back of a police wagon that sped along, then stopped abruptly again and again until he fell and broke his neck. "I went down two or three times," McKenna said.
August 14, 2013 |
SIGH. New York City, why couldn't you be more like your little sister to the south, Philadelphia? That's what a federal judge suggested yesterday in finding that the New York City Police Department's stop-and-frisk practices systematically violated the constitutional rights of scores of blacks and Latinos. U.S. District Court Judge Shira Scheindlin, sitting in Manhattan, lamented that NYPD leaders hadn't followed Philly's lead and reached a settlement agreement to reform stop-and-frisk, rather than engaging in a drawn-out legal battle.
July 30, 2013 |
His grandfather escaped from the Treblinka death camp, his grandmother died there. Decades later, when Witold "Vic" Walczak returned to his family's native Poland, a young man amid the Solidarity protests of the 1980s, he got knocked around and strip-searched by police. "At that point, I knew I wanted to be a civil liberties attorney," said Walczak, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania. Today, Walczak helps lead the legal fight for what is fast becoming Pennsylvania's preeminent civil rights issue: gay marriage.
May 31, 2013
POLICE Commissioner Charles Ramsey is doing the right thing by asking the U.S. Justice Department to review incidents of deadly force by police officers. Although shootings by police are down this year, Ramsey made his call after a week where officers shot four people, three of them fatally. The department investigates all shootings by officers as a matter of course, but Ramsey said he thought that an outside review would have more credibility. He's right. Internal investigations and discipline have been weak points in the department for years.
January 23, 2013
As a crime-fighting strategy, Philadelphia police need to be worrying more about making repairs to video surveillance cameras that don't work, rather than hassling citizens who happen to point a functioning cellphone camera their way. The 200 anticrime cameras posted around the city should be helping police nab the bad guys, but as many as one in four are down for maintenance. Meanwhile, far too many police officers seem to be camera shy when they have no legal right to be. Despite a directive issued more than a year ago by Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey that officers could be videotaped legally while performing their jobs, the Police Department last week was hit with the first of several federal lawsuits by a rights group that contends officers have intimidated and arrested people who tried to videotape them.
January 18, 2013
Fla. terrorism case dropped MIAMI - Citing a lack of evidence, a federal judge on Thursday dismissed terrorism support and conspiracy charges against the younger of two Muslim clerics accused of funneling thousands of dollars to the Pakistani Taliban. U.S. District Judge Robert Scola ruled that "no rational trier of fact" could convict Izhar Khan, 26, who is imam at a mosque in Margate, north of Fort Lauderdale. Trial is continuing against his father, Hafiz Khan, 77. Scola said the evidence against him is much stronger.
December 20, 2012
No, the city's top cop hasn't lost his mind. Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey absolutely took the right step in dismissing an officer accused of participating in fraud schemes designed to bilk the city and state out of property taxes on real estate transactions. The accusations against Elaine P. Thomas represent one more piece of crud thrown at a Police Department that for several years now has stumbled from one alleged act of impropriety by officers to another - from dealing drugs to shaking down convenience-store operators to sucker-punching defenseless women in the wrong place at the wrong time.
October 5, 2012
WE HAVE argued many times for an independent authority to provide police oversight and accountability, a body to ensure that police don't abuse their power and that when they do, they are disciplined. We now have that authority in Philadelphia. Unfortunately, it's YouTube. The shocking sidewalk slam to Aida Guzman by Lt. Jonathan Josey at Sunday's Puerto Rican Day parade was captured on video, posted on YouTube, and as of yesterday had gotten 1,329,847 views. That means that Josey, who was suspended with intent to fire by Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey on Wednesday, not only hit a woman, but also sucker-punched the entire city and the Police Department in front of the world.