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.
June 29, 2012 |
There's more trouble for the Colwyn, Delaware County, police department. Four Colwyn officers and a Darby man filed a federal civil rights lawsuit Thursday, alleging a pattern of police misconduct, including "improper charging and arrests," a coverup by supervisors, and retaliation against officers who tried to blow the whistle. The suit names suspended deputy police Chief Wendell Reed and Cpl. Trevor Parham, who is facing charges for allegedly tasering a juvenile handcuffed in a holding cell in April.
June 28, 2012 |
A CRIMINAL-COURT judge didn't believe James Harris when he claimed in 2007 that Philadelphia Police Officer Michael Paige forced him to perform oral sex on him in his police cruiser in Fairmount Park. But Wednesday, eight jurors did. In a three-day civil trial in federal court, a jury found Harris so believable that it declared Paige liable for violating Harris' civil rights and ordered Paige to pay Harris $165,000 in compensatory and punitive damages. The jury of four men and four women deliberated for five hours before deciding that Paige, 45, unlawfully detained Harris and subjected him to "invasions of his bodily integrity" in the March 16, 2007, incident in a remote pocket on the Belmont Plateau.
May 17, 2012 |
A months-long legal battle in Waterford Township over the posting of allegations of police misconduct and photographs of off-duty officers drinking at area bars on a now-defunct website that attracted a local following took another turn Tuesday night when the Township Committee indefinitely suspended the municipal attorney. The committee contends that in March, solicitor John Maroccia leaked news of the suspension of Sgt. Joseph McNally to the website — WaterfordTwpTeaParty.com — after the officer was accused of threatening a resident with whom he has a long-running dispute.
May 15, 2012 |
Daniel Rutland, mayor of embattled Colwyn, declared another state of emergency in the .3-square-mile borough Saturday after his previous order was overturned by council two weeks ago. Allegations of police misconduct became public this month after a juvenile who was handcuffed in a holding cell was allegedly shot with a Taser by a cop on April 24. Those allegations led Rutland to take three officers under investigation by county detectives off...
May 4, 2012 |
THE PHILADELPHIA Parking Authority is spotlighted in an A&E cable TV show titled "Parking Wars. " If A&E were to do one on the Philadelphia Police Department, I suggest the title "Fireproof. " Just what do you have to do to get yourself fired, if you're a Philadelphia cop? Just how bad to the bone must you be? The latest awful example is Officer Michael Paige, 45, driving a patrol car marked with the words "Honor, Service, Integrity" — the Philly cops motto — but his honor is besmirched, his service suspect, his integrity questioned.
March 16, 2012
C ITY COUNCILMAN Curtis Jones Jr. wants to establish a Police Advisory Commission that's here to stay. Jones finally introduced legislation yesterday proposing a change to the Home Rule Charter to make the commission a permanent agency. The commission, which is tasked with looking into complaints about police misconduct, was created under a mayoral executive order in 1994 and could be eliminated at any time. The Fraternal Order of Police has vowed to defeat the bill, and the Nutter administration has yet to reach an agreement with Jones on a charter change.