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Police State

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NEWS
August 23, 2005 | By CHRISTOPHER J. FALVEY
EVERY WEEK, it seems, a new form of technology for enforcing laws and improving security in America is debated - national ID cards, street cameras, computer-assisted profiling. And every week the same arguments, laden with Orwell references, are tossed around. Are we becoming a police state? Is it worth giving up this freedom for that security increase? True security will require sweeping increases in technology, but it will only help if we rethink how we create and enforce our laws.
NEWS
June 17, 1987 | By Claude Lewis, Inquirer Editorial Board
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled with uncommon wisdom this week when it decided in an 8-1 decision that a Houston ordinance making it a crime to oppose or "interrupt any policeman in the execution of his duty" is unconstitutionally broad. Interference with police has resulted in numerous arrests throughout the country. And the entire issue has spawned predictable reactions among many citizens. "If suspects haven't done anything wrong, they ought to be willing to allow the police to search their persons, their cars or their homes.
NEWS
June 7, 2013
It is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer . - Sir William Blackstone That principle, expressed by an English jurist more than 250 years ago, is crucial to the way the laws are applied in the United States, where the presumption of innocence is considered sacrosanct - most of the time. At other times, our zeal to find the guilty can run roughshod over our constitutionally protected rights. Such is the case with the Supreme Court decision this week approving DNA collection from anyone arrested for a crime.
NEWS
September 7, 2010
Armed government guards got on trains near the border to interrogate capriciously selected passengers about their citizenship and then carted away those who could not produce papers. The Soviet Union? East Germany? Well, no. It was the U.S. Border Patrol on an Amtrak in Rochester, N.Y. - close to the Canadian border. Border Patrol agents can question any person believed to be an alien concerning his or her right to be in America. They can do so within 100 miles from our external boundaries, including the one 12 miles off the coast.
NEWS
March 8, 1998 | By Walter F. Naedele, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Departing Police Commissioner Richard Neal was honored at a West Philadelphia street ceremony yesterday, but a principal speaker voiced concern that his replacement might return the city to the days of police brutality. Roland Delaney, a community activist known as the "mayor of 52d Street", told a crowd of about 200 people at the ceremony, "I'm hoping the next 22 months won't [bring] . . . a police state which our community will live to regret. " John F. Timoney, former first deputy commissioner of the New York City Police Department, takes office as Philadelphia police commissioner tomorrow.
NEWS
September 30, 2009 | By Steve Hallock
The world economy may or may not have emerged stronger from last week's G-20 summit in Pittsburgh. And the first non-capital city to host the summit enjoyed the public-relations boon of showcasing its Phoenix-like rise from the ashes of the steel industry. But the Constitution took a hit. Government officials decided a massive, preemptive police presence was necessary to avoid the raucous demonstrations that marred past economic summits. They established a virtual police state that quickly extinguished any spark of dissent, and a federal court ruling gave them free rein to do so. To begin with, there was an oxymoronic requirement that groups get permits to march and demonstrate during the summit.
NEWS
December 16, 2001
Though national polls show most Americans in favor of recent government actions to combat terrorism at home - such as military tribunals and secret detention of illegal immigrants - only about a third of about 100 responses we received approved of those policies. Rational, prudent measures I am a legal immigrant and a proud naturalized citizen of the United States who grew up in and then escaped from a police state. As a little girl in Hungary, I dreaded every knock on the front door and was petrified of men in uniforms.
NEWS
March 22, 1992 | By Dan Stets, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
What do two soccer coaches, a bobsledder, a legislator and a journalist have in common? The Stasi. Following revelation after revelation about the dreaded, now-defunct East German secret police force, which touched virtually every aspect of life in the old communist state, it sometimes seems harder to figure out who wasn't a collaborator than who was. Finally, 18 months after unification, the German Bundestag, or parliament, decided this...
NEWS
July 28, 2004 | By Daniel Rubin INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
This ain't Chicago, 1968. Or even Philadelphia, 2000. As of late last night, there had been not a single arrest at the Democratic National Convention. Massachusetts authorities had projected between 1,500 and 2,500 for the four-day convention. "It's been pretty amazing so far," said Dave Estrada, spokesman for the Boston Police Department, crediting a year of preparation among federal, state and local law-enforcement agencies. For their part, activists were crediting the locked-down nature of the convention center, the circling helicopters, the hidden cameras.
NEWS
January 11, 2016 | By Bob Fernandez, Staff Writer
Hundreds of people packed a conference Saturday at Temple University on the "black radical tradition," tapping into the national unrest over police shootings and bringing support to the burgeoning Black Lives Matter movement. In a part of the city that was a hotbed of black radicalism in the 1960s, speakers decried corporate power, expensive prescription drugs, mistreatment of women, and underfunded Philadelphia public schools. "So now it's time to switch from the classroom to protesting in the street," thundered Pamela Whitney Williams, the pastor of the Ark of Refuge Tabernacle in Overbrook, during an afternoon panel on black women.
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NEWS
January 11, 2016 | By Bob Fernandez, Staff Writer
Hundreds of people packed a conference Saturday at Temple University on the "black radical tradition," tapping into the national unrest over police shootings and bringing support to the burgeoning Black Lives Matter movement. In a part of the city that was a hotbed of black radicalism in the 1960s, speakers decried corporate power, expensive prescription drugs, mistreatment of women, and underfunded Philadelphia public schools. "So now it's time to switch from the classroom to protesting in the street," thundered Pamela Whitney Williams, the pastor of the Ark of Refuge Tabernacle in Overbrook, during an afternoon panel on black women.
NEWS
September 30, 2015 | By Jeff Gammage and Julia Terruso, Inquirer Staff Writers
Retired schoolteacher Matt Cinelli came to Philadelphia to experience the joy of the papal visit. He was met, he said, by "the confusion and terror of a police state," one in which edgy National Guard soldiers barked contradictory orders and seemed prepped for confrontation. "The security did not make me feel safe," said Cinelli, 56, who grew up Catholic and lives near Reading. "It made me feel like somebody was going to fight me, that there was a combativeness. " On Monday, hours after Pope Francis left Philadelphia for Rome, people who attended weekend events shared stories of disconcerting encounters with the massive security apparatus erected in advance of the visit.
NEWS
September 28, 2015 | By David O'Reilly, Inquirer Staff Writer
Journalists in the Vatican press corps accompanying Pope Francis on his U.S. trip were very impressed with Philadelphia's architecture and street-fair feel when they first arrived. But as the day wore on, many of the media representatives became increasingly soured by the heavy security measures evident throughout the city. As we got off the bus to enter Independence Mall for Francis' address, we were all struck by the line of police cars and security vehicles flanking Sixth Street from Market to Independence Hall.
NEWS
December 24, 2014
SIX FAMILY members slaughtered by a Montgomery County man who then took his own life. One hundred forty-three, mostly children, killed in a Pakistan school by the Taliban. One hundred sixty-five children kidnapped in Nigeria by Boko Haram. Two New York police shot in cold blood. And that's just last week. The world is never exactly a sane place, but lately it seems that the madness has increased. Few corners of the world are free from strife, from unbearable tensions.
NEWS
August 21, 2014
REGARDING your editorial "Obstacle Courses" praising the efforts of Dr. William Hite, as you put it, to "fight on . . . behalf" of the schoolchildren of Philadelphia, my question is: Are you serious? The latest in a line of SRC-appointed CEOs of a school system under direct control of Harrisburg, Hite made it his first priority to close or consolidate dozens of district schools while continuing the expansion of privately managed charters. How does that promote public education? The "set-in-their ways" unions, meanwhile, have been working without a contract since last August, resulting in a wage freeze, and saving the district tens of millions.
NEWS
June 7, 2013
It is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer . - Sir William Blackstone That principle, expressed by an English jurist more than 250 years ago, is crucial to the way the laws are applied in the United States, where the presumption of innocence is considered sacrosanct - most of the time. At other times, our zeal to find the guilty can run roughshod over our constitutionally protected rights. Such is the case with the Supreme Court decision this week approving DNA collection from anyone arrested for a crime.
NEWS
September 7, 2010
Armed government guards got on trains near the border to interrogate capriciously selected passengers about their citizenship and then carted away those who could not produce papers. The Soviet Union? East Germany? Well, no. It was the U.S. Border Patrol on an Amtrak in Rochester, N.Y. - close to the Canadian border. Border Patrol agents can question any person believed to be an alien concerning his or her right to be in America. They can do so within 100 miles from our external boundaries, including the one 12 miles off the coast.
NEWS
April 7, 2010 | By JULIE HAWKINS
IWAS HAVING coffee with a friend at 15th and Sansom not long ago when, out of nowhere, a group of teens burst onto the scene. The energy that came with them was palpable. Tense, wired, high-strung - it literally crackled, and we felt it. As it turns out, we'd witnessed a tiny part of a would-be flash mob from Broad Street, and I thought to myself - as I have every time this happens in Philadelphia - "They should be dancing. " Bill Wasik, the senior editor at Harper's who created the flash mob, uses it as a tool for playful social gatherings.
NEWS
September 30, 2009 | By Steve Hallock
The world economy may or may not have emerged stronger from last week's G-20 summit in Pittsburgh. And the first non-capital city to host the summit enjoyed the public-relations boon of showcasing its Phoenix-like rise from the ashes of the steel industry. But the Constitution took a hit. Government officials decided a massive, preemptive police presence was necessary to avoid the raucous demonstrations that marred past economic summits. They established a virtual police state that quickly extinguished any spark of dissent, and a federal court ruling gave them free rein to do so. To begin with, there was an oxymoronic requirement that groups get permits to march and demonstrate during the summit.
NEWS
August 7, 2008 | By Jonathan Tamari INQUIRER TRENTON BUREAU
For nearly 90 years, state troopers have patrolled rural New Jersey, responding to medical emergencies, car crashes and burglar alarms. So when state officials detailed their plans last week to begin charging towns for the service, the reaction was largely anger and, in some communities, confusion. In Mansfield, which the state wants to bill $264,000 for what it considers "full-time" police patrols, administrator Joseph Broski said the town hadn't relied on state police for two years.
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