Brandon Tate-Brown Family Files Federal Class-Action Lawsuit

Tanya Brown-Dickerson, center, is flanked by Asa Khalif, left, and Brian Mildenberg, right, during a press conference in March. Dickerson’s son, Brandon Tate-Brown, was shot to death by police in December.

Tanya Brown-Dickerson, center, is flanked by Asa Khalif, left, and Brian Mildenberg, right, during a press conference in March. Dickerson’s son, Brandon Tate-Brown, was shot to death by police in December.

The family of Brandon Tate-Brown, a 26-year-old man who was fatally shot by police at a traffic stop last year, filed a class-action lawsuit in federal court on Wednesday.

The lawsuit makes the same claims as a wrongful death suit that was filed in April by the family in the Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas, which has since been withdrawn, as well as several additional claims. Attorney Brian Mildenberg said the new claims were based on an investigation that took place after the police department released several documents in June related to the shooting.

Mildenberg said the family “is asking the federal court to certify a class action on behalf of all persons who have been or may be injured by police due to lack of training and operational deficiencies identified by the United States Department of Justice.”

In March, the U.S. Department of Justice issued a wide-ranging, critical report that found that police-involved shootings in Philadelphia had increased, use-of-force training was often inadequate, and the investigation of shootings was inconsistent. It also recommended several major police reforms. The federal government began reviewing the city’s police department after a request was made by Police Commissioner Charles RamseyRead more »

Thanks, But I Don’t Need the Pope to Forgive My Abortion


By the time I graduated from college in 1978, almost every one of my women friends had had an abortion. The circumstances in each case were different, but the choice we made was the same. I’ve written before about telling my pro-life daughter about my choice years later. I did so because the climate in this country had become so profoundly anti-choice—because male legislators and activists were doing their damnedest to outlaw my decision, and were burning down clinics and murdering doctors who provided this health service—a health service, by the way, that the Supreme Court has deemed perfectly legal—to women like me.

Now here comes Pope Francis, declaring in a letter on Tuesday that the “tragedy of abortion” is “an existential and moral ordeal,” and pitying the “many women who bear in their heart the scar of this agonizing and painful decision.” He even instructed priests to offer forgiveness to women who have had abortions.

To which I say, with the utmost respect: No thanks, Your Holiness. Read more »

Why Is Brian Tierney Getting a Big Journalism Award?

Brian Tierney, May 23, 2006. AP Photo | Rusty Kennedy

Brian Tierney, May 23, 2006. AP Photo | Rusty Kennedy

So: Brian Tierney is getting a big journalism award.


The Poynter Institute announced Tuesday that Tierney — who was publisher of the Inquirer, Daily News, and when their parent company went into bankruptcy — is receiving its “Distinguished Service to Journalism” award.

 No, really.

 Guess which word is never mentioned, even indirectly, in the press release announcing the honor?

Here’s a hint: Starts with a “b” and rhymes with “shmankruptcy.”

Instead, his tenure at the helm of Philadelphia’s largest news organization is described like this: Read more »

Jim Beasley Jr.: The (Literally) High-Flying Attorney

Illustration by Andy Friedman

Illustration by Andy Friedman

My name is Jim Beasley, or JBJ, as everybody calls me. It’s short for Jim Beasley Jr.

I am a teenager trapped in a 48-year-old body.

I grew up in a tornado in Villanova. Four dogs, my dad, two sisters. A million things all at the same time. Now I live in a tornado in West Chester.

When I was a kid, I wanted to grow up to be a fighter pilot. But I went to Penn for medicine. I wanted to be a geneticist.

My most famous client was Taylor Swift. I represented her for a breach-of-contract for an airplane that she bought. Read more »

Merging Daily News, Inquirer Newsrooms Would Be Dumb

Banner via Facebook

Banner via Facebook

The first day I walked into the newsroom at the Daily News, one of the editors pulled me aside to share an insight on the very soul of the tabloid that lives perpetually on death row.

“Our job,” she told me, “is to get to the emotional heart of every story.”

In doing that, of course, we got to the emotional heart of the city.

I spent nearly a decade at the paper in the 1990s directing local news coverage, trying to get at that emotional heart, and doing everything I knew how to beat the bejesus out of Big Sister who then lived downstairs at the old headquarters at 400 North Broad Street.

This is all on my mind, and in my heart, these days because of an interview on this website with a man who has been named the new publisher of both the Inquirer and the Daily News, Terry Egger.

Philly Mag interviewed the new guy — who has been at newspapers in St. Louis and Cleveland — and this is the part that is disturbing for long-time Daily News fans:

“Can we afford some of the inefficiencies that are inherent in having three entirely separate newsrooms?” Read more »

Black Lives Matter Activists Drown Out Charles Ramsey

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey. AP | Matt Rourke

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey | Photo by AP/Matt Rourke

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey was speaking at an event at the Eastern State Penitentiary on Tuesday night, when Black Lives Matter activists disrupted him, making it impossible for him to continue.

“Black Lives Matter!” they shouted. “No racist police!”

Organizers told KYW that they were protesting over the death of Brandon Tate-Brown, who was shot by police during a traffic stop in December. Read more »

Chaput Slams Trump on Immigration

Chaput Trump

Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput assailed GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump on Tuesday, saying Trump’s rhetoric on immigration “plays on our worst fears and resentments.”

The comments were reported by the Associated Press, which said they were “prepared for a church forum that was part of the run-up of activities to a visit by Pope Francis.”

In those comments, Chaput disputed Trump’s proposal to end “birthright citizenship” — the automatic granting of citizenship to babies born on American soil, even if their parents are illegally.

“This is a profoundly bad idea,” Chaput said. Read more »

Chaput Praises Pope’s Abortion Stance

Archbishop Charles Chaput. Photo | Jeff Fusco

Archbishop Charles Chaput. Photo | Jeff Fusco

Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput on Tuesday praised Pope Francis‘ decision to allow priests to forgive abortion during the Catholic Church’s forthcoming “Jubilee Year of Mercy.”

“Pope Francis’ recent remarks on absolution for the sin of abortion demonstrate his commitment to all those in need of healing,” Chaput said in a statement released by the archdiocese. “With a special ‘Jubilee Year of Mercy’ set to begin in December, the timing is very welcome.”

Abortion is considered by the church to be a grave sin, and in much of the the world a senior church official is required to give permission for absolution. The policy has been different in Philadelphia, Chaput said. Read more »

Philly Love Notes Says Goodbye

Emma Fried-Cassorla, the

Emma Fried-Cassorla, the founder of Philly Love Notes | Photo by Bradley Maule

Philly Love Notes, the website that gave people literally hundreds of reasons to crush on a city that can feel frustratingly unlovable at times, is calling it quits.

Emma Fried-Cassorla, the site’s founder, announced that she is publishing its final love note on Tuesday night. Philly Love Notes’ archives will remain online for people to enjoy, however, and the brand’s Facebook and Twitter accounts will continue to share content.

Read more »

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