Daily News reporter Jan Ransom published an excellent article exposing Philadelphia Police regularly breaking people's cameras and arresting them for videotaping or photographing police action--and, potentially, police misbehavior. But Daily News columnist Will Bunch contends that the People Paper buried what should be a very big story by publishing it on a low-readership Labor Day weekend Saturday:
I can't fathom for the life of me why the Daily News -- the newspaper that won a Pulitzer just last year for its courage in exposing police misconduct -- all but buried this article by publishing it on possibly the lowest circulation day of the entire year, the Saturday of Labor Day weekend. I'm not casting aspersions towards anyone -- I've worked here long enough to know that usuallly when things happen here...it's usually just one of those things. That said, it was a big mistake not getting this article to a wider audience, which I hope to do my small part in rectifying.
[Update: Saturday, 10:30pm]
“We walkin down the street--fuck the police.”
“Fight for teen jobs, not flash mobs.”
“Who runs South Street? Not the police.”
“We need schools, not a curfew.”
Overheard on South Street: passersby respond. Some are sympathetic, some are confused, some aren’t happy. One source says that someone broke into a car belonging to a Civil Affairs Unit officer--no indication it was a protester.
Drunken young white bachelorette: “Thank you!” to police.
A black woman explains to a mixed race group of friends: “They say it’s an attack on black people. But it’s not. It’s just that the kids attacking people happen to be black.”
Young woman in a hijab laughs from across street, joins in: “Not the police!”
Young black man, arguing protesters’ point to his family: “They need more schools, more activities. They probably wouldn’t be out here causing trouble.”
Elderly black woman to family: “Um, let’s get back to the car please.”
Old white woman to husband: "What are they protesting?"
Two young black men, leaning against a store facade: “They talkin about that flash mob shit.”
Small white woman, passing out flyers: “Stop the attack on the African community. Stop the curfew.”
20-something black man, talking to friends and laughing: “I’ve seen the flash mobs on the news, and they’re African and American. And this white lady rolls up, ‘Stop the attack on Africans?’ It’s like, I am an American.”
Policeman talking to other officers: “Who runs South Street, not the police? I’ll tell you what. Get robbed and don’t call me.”
Puerto Rican man to black cop: “Hey, thank you man, for doing your job.”
Coffeeshop employee on phone: “The protest turned out to be the opposite of what we all thought it would be. A bunch of white people. We had thought about closing just in case...”
[Note: protest was about half black, half white.]
[9pm update from previous post]
About 40 people, black and white, gathered at 8:30pm at South and Broad Streets preparing to walk down South Street to challenge the youth curfew, implemented by Mayor Michael Nutter in response to the recent violence.
A protest organizer told City Paper that all youth present were encouraged to be with guardians and that there are not plans to violate the curfew.
A dozen policemen gathered across the way, and a cruiser made its way down the street loudspeaker blaring: “By order of Mayor Michael Nutter, the curfew for juveniles will be in effect in 25 minutes, at 9pm.”
Mayor Nutter announces much-anticipated strategy against flash mobs: enforce a curfew that already exists.
Pretty much everyone agrees that something needs to be done about the violent mobs of youth who've been descending on Center City and committing assaults and robberies. Early this week, Mayor Nutter announced that his staff was working with various city agencies and public stakeholders to come up with a new strategy. Today he unveiled at least part of it: enforce a curfew already on the books in the first place.
States a press release sent out a few hours ago from the Mayor's Office of Communications:
This weekend, the Philadelphia Police Department will strictly enforce the city’s current curfew law, which states that children under the age of 13 must be home by 10:00 p.m., and young people between the ages of 13 and 18 must be home by 12:00 a.m. There are penalties for minors and for parents who ignore this curfew.
“I want to strongly encourage parents and guardians to be vigilant and to look out for their children this weekend. There is no excuse for young people to be able to participate in coordinated, violent behavior if parents are doing their job. It is your responsibility, not the government’s, to watch your kids.
The press release also notes that we may expect to see increased police presence in Center City and people wearing "iPledge" tee-shirts, which, despite their resemblance to Apple branding, apparently indicate "community leaders who have given their time to help ensure the safety of our city."
iDon't quite get it either.
The Mayor's Press Office held a press conference just now to announce what we were promised was a "major major" personnel announcement.
The big news: Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey is staying here after all, after reportedly being wooed by an offer from Chicago.
According to intrepid reporter Holly Otterbein — who stands on scene as we speak — "everybody and their mother" was present for the announcement, and the room "burst out in applause" at the news.
What enticed Ramsey to stay? Was it our only somewhat-climbing murder rates (way down, albeit, since Ramsey took charge)? Was it the satisfaction of disciplining a police force that's seen more than its share of scandal this year?
Maybe. But Nutter also offered the Chief a raise from $195,000 to $255,000 — an amount, Otterbein reports, that exceeds city ordinance limits but which Nutter says is appropriate since Ramsey serves more than one city function.
More as it comes.
You may remember Philadelphia Police Inspector (and former district captain) Daniel Castro for the indictment filed against him by a federal grand jury, which found that Castro, after losing a hundred thousand dollars in a failed real estate investment, entered into a conspiracy with (he would later find out) a confidential informant to extort that money â and $50,000 extra for his trouble â by force.
Today, the U.S. Attorney's Office filed additional charges against Castro â including outsourcing the intended beatdown and collection to one William "Billy" Wong.
What's more, the new indictment says Castro began referring additional extortion cases to the confidential informant, collecting a $500 referral fee and helping one Alan Kats retain the services of a debt "collector" via Wong.
It's pretty wild stuff. You can read the indictment here.
The city's chief integrity officer is, CP just learned, investigating a weekend incident in which the Streets department issued, and the Philadelphia Police enforced, a temporary parking order on a Fairmount block which, according to the observations of one resident, appeared aimed at providing parking for a private party.
This weekend, City Paper caught wind of an interesting incident that occurred on Friday, in which an entire block in Fairmount was suddenly â and for reasons unclear â subjected to a temporary no-parking order.
The details came courtesy of Chris LaPierre, a resident of the 800 block of N 26th St, who told CP today the following story (the incident was mentioned today on Philebrity):
On Friday, LaPierre was having dinner when a Philadelphia police officer knocked on his door and told him (apologetically, he says) that he'd have to move his car, due to a temporary no-parking ordinance affecting both sides of the entire block. LaPierre moved his car (no small feat in Fairmount), and, upon returning, noticed someone else parking on the block. He warned them about the situation, but the driver seemed unconcerned: "The guy said, 'We're fine, don't worry about it,'" he reports.
As the block filled up with cars, LaPierre inspected and found many to have, posted inside their dashboards, written notes on City of Philadelphia letterhead.
He then watched as the newly-parked cars' owners proceeded to a party at the house across the street, a property belonging to attorney Worrell Nero.
A call to Nero's office today was un-returned. CP made slightly more headway with the Mayor's Press Office.
At 6:15 p.m., spokesperson Katherine Martin told CP that the city's Chief Integrity Officer, Joan L. Markman, is looking into the incident and the process by which the temporary parking order was issued.
Ms. Martin declined to elaborate.
Parkinggate? Just had to coin it first. Plus, the double-g is cool.
Also: Vote Drew Lazor! He deserves it, and yes: you can vote every day. Cupcakes, indeed.
One of the policy changes touted by Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey since he took office in January 2008 is the use of Tasers by police officers to offset the need for using lethal weapons in certain situations, especially when dealing with the mentally ill. A year ago, the Department purchased 1,000 new Tasers.
But police statistics obtained by CP indicate that increased Taser use does not appear to be offsetting use of firearms by Philadelphia police officers.
Since 2008, Taser use has tripled; incidents involving police using guns, however, have stayed at relatively the same level (and the number of shots fired by police per incident has actually increased).
Here's a homemade chart of gun use incidents, gunshots and Taser use incidents (complete data for individual Taser discharges wasn't available, but those numbers tend to be close to the number of incidents):
|Isaiah Thompson, City Paper|
|Taser use has more than tripled, but police gun use hasn't dropped
correspondingly. (numbers represent totals through October of each year)
For more perspective, you might want to check out this graph, too, showing the same stats (where available) for the last four years. They show Taser use climbing fairly steadily, but also a significant decline in overall gun use since 2008 (Ramsey's first year). Click either chart to enlarge it.
|Isaiah Thompson, City Paper|
Over the weekend, the Inquirer published an article about crime at SugarHouse, claiming that before Friday's pistol-whipping, "police had received three reports of crime at SugarHouse since the casino's Sept. 23 opening: two reports of theft from cars in the parking lot, and one of a broken car window."
City Paper found otherwise.
According to statistics from the Philadelphia Police Department (see below), there have been 22 reports of crime not four since the casino's opening: one robbery by handgun, three reports of theft from cars, two reports of theft that occurred elsewhere, one report of fraudulent conversion, three reports of private-property vandalism, two D.U.I.s, four reports of disorderly conduct, and six reports of trespassing.
This is an especially egregious error given the general theme of the article that SugarHouse is "one of the most thoroughly policed areas in the city," and Friday's pistol-whipping criminals "defeated tight security." How can you quantify how good or bad security is without accurate statistics?
Two months after the casino's opening, it's too soon to judge security, really. It's also too soon to know if SugarHouse will provide another example of how casinos bring more violent crime to communities, as economist Earl Grinols and others argue.
|Illustration | Evan Lopez
Why should you consider forgoing the Flyers' season opener tonight and instead attend your local police district's public meeting on misconduct and other issues? Just reread Andrew Thompson's February cover on the lack of oversight within the Philly Police Department, and all the troubles that leads to you'll get the idea.
There will be a meeting in each police district tonight, from 6 to 8 p.m, unless otherwise noted. Everything from police misconduct to quality-of-life issues is on the table. Along with Police Department commanders, there will be also be members from Internal Affairs, the Police Advisory Commission, the Police Clergy and the Police District Advisory Councils in attendance. So if you something to say about cops, now's the time. Click the jump to find out where the meetings are being held (and if you don't know which district you live in, you can find out here):
ROC NORTH MEETINGS:
Salvation Army -1920 E. Allegheny Ave.
St. Hugh's Church â Mascher & Tioga
Lutheran Settlement House - 1340 N. Frankford Ave.
St Williams Church- Robbins & Argyle sts.
CORA Services-8540 Veree Road
Norcom Community Center-10980 Norcom Rd.
2900 St. Vincent St., 7pm
Kendrick Recreation Center, 5800 Ridge Ave.
New Bethel AME Church, 6153 Germantown Ave.
Holy Trinity Church, Marvine & Rockland sts.
Geiger Memorial Bretheren Church, 2543 W.Lehigh Ave.
ROC SOUTH MEETINGS:
St. Richard's Church - 19th & Pollack sts. (3000 S. 19th St.)
Mount Carmel School - 2329 S. 3rd St.
Wharton Square Bldg. - 23rd & Wharton sts.
Chinese Christian Church & Center - 1101 Vine St.
Menonite Church, 860 N. 24th St.
Winchester Recreation Center - 2330 N. 15th St.
Ezekiel Baptist Church - 5701 Grays Ave.
Christian Stronghold Church - 4701 Lancaster Ave.
Sayre High School Auditorium, 5800 Walnut St.
Sweet Union Baptist Church - 1536 N. 59th St.
Some Internet thing labels North 13th Street the sixth most dangerous hood in America. Suck it, Badlands.
For the second year in a row, using exclusive data developed by Dr. Andrew Schiller's team at NeighborhoodScout.com, and based on FBI data from all 17,000 local law enforcement agencies, WalletPop reveals the top 25 most dangerous neighborhoods with the highest predicted rates of violent crime in America.
No. 1 is a hood in Chicago. No. 2, Cleveland. Nos. 3 and 4 (and 8), Las Vegas (who knew?). No. 5, the ATL.
And then there's No. 6: North 13th Street, or more specifically, the area bounded by Green Street to the south, Poplar to the north, Broad Street to the west, and 10th Street to the east. According to NeighborhoodScout, this 'hood has a median home value of $101, 973; according to WallePop, you have a 1 in 9 shot (pun unintentional) of being a victim of violent crime here in a year. (That's compared to a 1 in 19 shot citywide, which, let's be honest, is still a bit frightening.) Other thing worth noting: 92 percent of the nation's school districts are rated as being better than ours.
Missing? The Badlands, which has either cleaned up its act (relatively speaking) and is now less dangerous than No. 25, a neighborhood in my old home of Orlando called Parramore (which is, unsurprisingly if you're familiar with how these things are done in the south, a mostly black neighborhood named after a Confederate general) or WalletPop just overlooked it.
- Ask A Man-About-Town
- Award Tour
- Bad Idea Factory
- Below the Curve
- Brian Hickey
- Budget Fuss
- City Council
- City Hall
- CP Abroad
- CP in the Community
- Criminal Justice System
- Day Tripper
- Death and Taxes
- Delaware River
- Dubious Distinction
- End of Days
- Film Fest
- Financial Meltdown
- Free Library
- Gay Stuff
- Get Lit
- Hall Monitor
- Health Care
- Hello, Kitty
- Ice Cubes
- In Memoriam
- Marcellus Shale
- MUST READ
- Mysterious Mysteries
- Non Sequitur
- PA politics 2010
- Parking Wars
- Parks and Recreation
- People Send Us This Stuff
- Philadelphia Police
- Philadelphia Union
- Philly From Scratch
- philly madness
- President Obama
- Print Edition
- Readers Write
- Real Estate
- Rock Bottom
- Screwing Philly
- So Lush
- Sporting Life
- Sports Complex
- State Politicians
- State Politics
- Street Art
- Stuff We Like
- Taxi Drivers
- Tech Fetish
- The Budget Crisis
- The City Paper
- The CLOG
- The Human Condition
- The Mayor
- The Phightin Phils
- The World
- Things that make you go hm
- Tinfoil Hats Off
- Under the Table
- Under the Tables
- Urban Development
- Urban Planning
- urban wildlife
- Video Poker
- We Call Shenanigans
- Web Junk
- Weekend Omnibus
- White House
- What We've Found
- Women's Issues
- Flyered Up!
- How 'Bout That Weather?
- it's always sunny in philadelphia
- get out
- 10-track mind
- Bruce Being Bruce
- Gigantic Surprises
- Hello Canary
- Hello Puppy
- get lost
- Inside The Fishbowl
- Library Closings
- Local Support
- Night Moves
- Skeeze Police
- State Politicians Screwing Philly
- That's a cool stencil!
- Things We See
- This Week
- This Week in Oates
- University City
- What we don't heart
- what we heart
- Feeling Guilty
- Broke in Philly
- Dear Paper Doll
- Do A Good Thing
- Film Fest Schism
- G20-20 Vision
- Great American Heroes
- Pearl Jam Week
- Stars of the Photostream
- Lower Merion Webcam-Gate
- The Cycle
- Equality Forum
- Bureaucrat of the Week