June 11, 2014
PHILADELPHIA'S unemployment rate showed a promising decline recently, and although things could be on an upturn, the long-term health of a big, old city like ours is by no means a sure thing - especially with intractable problems of schools and crime. One worrisome factor behind the city's crime rate is a troubled Police Department. And new evidence of those troubles should raise red flags not just for the city's leadership but for all of us. According to a recent Daily News report, civil-rights lawsuit settlements reached a new high in 2013 of nearly $20 million to settle 207 claims.
April 30, 2014 |
IT HAPPENED. It actually happened. Philly stopped shrugging long enough to call BS on cops getting a pass from the feds for allegedly preying on some of the city's most vulnerable. And that outrage led the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office to review the cases of two women who said they were groped by one of the cops. No word if they'll revisit the 22 Philly bodega owners who said they were robbed and roughed up. "It makes sense for us to do this now given the criticism we've received for something we never looked at before," First Assistant District Attorney Ed McCann said.
April 25, 2014 |
DISGUSTING. Unbelievable. Sickening. There are a thousand more adjectives to describe yesterday's astounding news that no criminal charges will be brought against the cops who terrorized 22 Philly bodega owners. But you need to understand this: The shop owners were all legal immigrants. None had criminal records. Nor had they ever met - they hailed from four corners of the city and spoke different languages. Yet the stories they told Daily News reporters Barbara Laker and Wendy Ruderman were identical: A Philadelphia plainclothes narcotics squad had barreled into the immigrants' bodegas, guns drawn.
March 17, 2014
Reading the laundry list of allegations of abuse that suspended Police Officer Kevin Corcoran has faced over the years, it's hard to believe the Philadelphia cop wasn't kicked off the force before now. Give modern technology credit for finally nabbing him. Witnesses pulled out their cellphones to record Corcoran's violent arrest last year of an Iraq War veteran who had the audacity to yell at the officer for driving in the wrong direction on a one-way...
January 9, 2014 |
THIS COLUMN is for families and friends of Philly police officers. We need your help. Or, rather, Vinny Vella needs your help. Vinny - who has just joined the Daily News ' dogged band of police reporters - writes today's story about Philly cops Brandon Bryant, David Quaintance and Tighe Wingrove. They saved the lives of two wounded men by using tourniquets to stop the victims from bleeding to death. It's a feel-good piece about hot-damn police work. We want to tell more stories like this (which resulted from a fellow reporter's tip)
December 10, 2013
"WHY SO MANY bad cops?" I asked in October. That column brought a lot of reaction, from citizens and current and past officers, some with questions, some with suggestions. In the light of continuing personnel problems - it seems to fall short of a crisis (or does it?) - and in an effort to clear up misconceptions about the Philadelphia Police Department, I requested some time with Commissioner Charles Ramsey. I wanted to know about the quality and training of recruits, and more. I hate to explode widespread myths, but the Police Department does not hire high-school dropouts, nor does race play a role in hiring, Ramsey told me. Let's start with race, that evergreen and explosive topic.
June 17, 2013 |
It was time to put up or shut up. I had been talking about moving to Canada for nearly a decade. Nine months after leaving my job, I was too distracted to finish my latest writing project. A friend suggested I hole up in British Columbia for a couple of months to complete the work and get a taste of life north of the border. After my meteorologist friend in Omaha told me it wasn't downright crazy to attempt a drive to Western Canada in the dead of winter, I started planning. Using Craigslist, I found a pet-friendly rental for February and March in Powell River, a small city on British Columbia's Sunshine Coast.
April 3, 2013 |
Warsaw in 1937 was a city full of intrigue. A city crawling with spies. A city on the brink of war. Its story is told in BBC America's superb, gorgeously shot mini-series Spies of Warsaw , which premieres Wednesday. It's one of two major new TV dramas this week, along with Rogue , a gritty, violent cop series from DirectTV's Audience Network, which also begins Wednesday, with a feature-length pilot. Spies of Warsaw is a lush, classic spy yarn starring David Tennant ( Doctor Who , Hamlet )
February 1, 2013 |
A former Camden City police officer who admitted his role in a corrupt antidrug unit and cooperated with federal authorities was sentenced today to 46 months in prison. Jason Stetser was the last of four former police officers convicted as a result of the investigation to learn his fate. The case has resulted in payouts totaling more than $3.8 million to some of those who had been arrested by the rogue group. Standing before U.S. District Court Judge Robert Kugler in Camden, Stetser, 34, apologized to all he had hurt and said, "I am ashamed of my actions.
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.