Trial Starts Today for Accused Cops

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After a week of preliminaries, trial is expected to get under way today for six Philadelphia narcotics officers accused of robbing and shaking down the drug dealers they were supposed to be putting behind bars.

Defense attorneys for the officers — Thomas Liciardello, Brian Reynolds, Perry Betts, Linwood Norman, Perry Betts, John Speiser and Michael Spicer — are expected to attack the credibility of federal prosecutors’ witnesses, many of whom are convicted or accused drug dealers. More than 160 drug cases involving the officers have been thrown of criminal court. Read more »

Nutter Orders Creation of Police Oversight Board

Mayor Michael Nutter today ordered the creation of a new independent oversight board to monitor the Philadelphia Police Department as it implements reforms recommended in this week’s report from the Department of Justice.

“It is clear changes need to be made with the use of force, the use of lethal force, all across our city,” Nutter said. “It is an important report, it is a good report on the things we need to do, the things we need to change.”  Read more »

Standing Room Only at Craig Drake’s Memorial Service

drake-400x400“He’s a character out of a Tom Wolfe story.” That’s how a friend of mine describes Craig Drake, who died on March 15th at age 79. The metaphor is apparently apt: One of Drake’s oldest friends, speaking of him at a packed memorial service yesterday at The Church of the Holy Trinity on Rittenhouse Square, also compared Drake’s life to a novel, with one important caveat: “It would all be true.”

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Embattled State Police Nominee Gets Racist Letter

Gov. Tom Wolf’s embattled pick to lead the Pennsylvania State Police received a “racially charged” letter this week.

The Morning Call reports:

The handwritten loose-leaf letter saying “No [racial epithet] lover will wear my uniform” was placed overnight Monday in Marcus Brown’s mailbox outside his home in Hampden Township, Cumberland County, according to a state police spokeswoman. Brown turned the letter over to Hampden police and the Cumberland County district attorney’s office, she said.

The letter appears to reference statements Brown made when he was Maryland State Police superintendent after the Ferguson, Mo., riots involving a police shooting last summer. During a discussion with other Maryland police officials, Brown was quoted in the media as saying sometimes police tactics can escalate civic unrest.

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Penn State Prez Eric Barron to Name Task Force to Reevaluate Frat System

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Eric Barron | Photo Credit: Michelle Bixby/PSU

Penn State president Eric Barron says he is creating a task force to look into fraternity and sorority life at the university in the wake of allegations that its Kappa Delta Rho chapter posted photographs of nude, unconscious women online.

“This comprehensive examination of fraternity and sorority life and its culture will not be simple and it may not be comfortable,” said Barron. “It will, however, be thorough.” Read more »

Penn State Students Rally Against Facebook Frat

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Penn State students braved the snow Friday to rally in support of the women who were allegedly pictured nude and unconscious on a fraternity’s invitation-only websites.

Police are investigating allegations by a ex-member of Kappa Delta Rho that the frat ran two Facebook pages where members shared “photos of unsuspecting victims, drug sales and hazing.” A police warrant said some images were “of nude females that appeared to be passed out.”

Protesters carried signs that read, “Rape Culture Lives Here,” “Support the Victims” and “This Isn’t Satire” (an apparent reference to a frat member who told Philadelphia magazine that a Kappa Delta Rho Facebook page was satirical). Read more »

No, It’s Not Time to Abolish Fraternities

It was a bright spring day in New York City. And the doorman was just minding his own business, watching the traffic go by on Park Avenue. My mission was to steal his hat.

John was my accomplice. We had a plan. I hid around the corner of the building while John casually strode toward the doorman, purposely looking lost. John had a map in his hand. He stopped the doorman and asked for directions.  And when the doorman looked at the map with John … I sprang into action. I ran down the block and before he knew what was happening I snatched his hat off his head and galloped away. John took off in the other direction. 10 minutes later and 10 blocks away, John and I re-grouped to gleefully inspect our treasure.  We got the hat.

Yes, we were pledging a fraternity. And, like today’s fraternity and sorority members, we were college-aged idiots. Read more »

Rollie Massimino on Villanova’s 1985 Upset Over Georgetown

Photo by Jason Myers

Photo by Jason Myers

This is the 30th anniversary of Villanova’s historic upset over Georgetown in the NCAA Finals. How are you going to celebrate?
Our players have come down to visit me for the last eight or nine years, since we started the program here in Northwood. Everyone but a couple will be here. We celebrated at Villanova when we played them back in November, and we have our annual outing, because my wife is such a good cook that they’d never want to give that up.

That game helped launch the NCAA tournament to a higher level. When you see what March Madness has become, do you take any credit for it?
No, I don’t think I can take any credit for March Madness. I think it’s a great tournament, one of the most competitive situations in all of sport. Mike Eruzione, the Olympic hockey player, and I often argue what was the bigger game — him playing the Russians or us playing Georgetown. We’ve made some major arguments. In fact, we had to have Mike Fratello and Tommy Lasorda make the decision. Of course, they were my friends, so they voted for me. Read more »

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