Willie Williams, Philly’s First African-American Police Commissioner, Has Died at 72

Willie Williams. Photos | Philadelphia Police Department

Willie Williams. Photos | Philadelphia Police Department

Sylvester Johnson‘s memories of Willie Williams stretch back 50 years, to a time when both men were young Philly cops, working for a Police Department that wasn’t exactly bending over backward to create opportunities for African-Americans.

The two men lived around the corner from each other. When promotional exams rolled around, they huddled together and studied, hoping like hell they’d do well enough to have a crack at moving up a rank. Williams climbed the ranks a little faster than Johnson, but didn’t forget his friend. “He was the one who made me a captain, and then made me an inspector,” Johnson said. “He was a mentor to me, and to a lot people.”

Johnson rummaged through these and other memories on Wednesday afternoon, just hours after he learned that Williams had died in Atlanta at age 72, following a lengthy illness. Williams was a trailblazer who will go down in history as the first African-American man to serve as police commissioner in Philadelphia and Los Angeles.  Read more »

Trump’s Showing in Pennsylvania Puts Him on Path to the Nomination

Donald Trump

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to members of the audience during a commercial break at a CNN town hall earlier this year. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Pennsylvania awards 71 delegates to the Republican National Convention, the seventh-most of any state. But there’s a quirk in the law: Pennsylvania awards just 17 of them to the winner of the presidential primary. The other 54 delegates are elected directly by voters.

And while the Democratic primary displays the candidate each delegate is committed to, Republican delegates are elected without any indication of which candidate they’re going for, or if they’re going to vote for whoever wins in the district or statewide.

So Donald Trump’s resounding victory in the state yesterday doesn’t get him a clean sweep of delegates. But it appears he got pretty darn close.  Read more »

Bizarre Early Morning Hit-and-Run Lands Two Police Officers in the Hospital

A confounding chain of events unfolded last night on the 700 block of North Broad Street, causing two police officers to be hospitalized. Police are still trying to put together exactly what took place around 2 a.m. this morning — and why.

At 2:16 a.m., two undercover officers in an unmarked car were traveling southbound on Broad Street when a black vehicle, which was driving eastbound from Brown Street, crashed into the passenger side of the officers’ vehicle and then left the scene. The black sedan fled southbound on Broad Street. The officers were wearing plain clothes and not in uniform at the time of the crash, according to CBS3.

The police car was a grey “2008 unmarked Ford Ranger truck,” according to police spokeswoman Tanya Little.   Read more »

Here’s Hillary Clinton’s Philly Victory Speech


Hillary Clinton won the Pennsylvania Primary on Tuesday, and she took her victory lap at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, flanked by the Pennsylvania politicians who’ve been flanking her all along. Hey, Jim Kenney! Yo, Tom Wolf! What’s up, Bob Casey! She spoke to a raucous crowd who often interrupted with chants of “Hillary! Hillary!”

The former Secretary of State delivered a speech very much in line with what she’d been saying at her Philly stops in the last week. She focused on Donald Trump, and responded specifically to his claims that she was playing gender politics.

“Now, the other day, Mr. Trump accused me of playing the, quote, ​’ woman card. ​’​ Well, if fighting for women’s health care and paid family leave and equal pay is playing the ​’​ woman card, ​’​ then deal me in,” she said to applause.

Clinton also attempted to mend fences with supporters of Bernie Sanders. “Whether you support Senator Sanders or you support me, there’s much more that unites us than divides us. We all agree that wages are too low and inequality is too high,” she said, lobbing a few grenades at Wall Street for good measure.

And, of course, she vowed to return in July for the Democratic National Convention.

Read Clinton’s full speech below: Read more »

Pro Baseball Player Sean Murphy, Fishtown Native, Dead at 27

Sean Murphy. Photo | MLB

Sean Murphy. Photo | MLB

The Oakland Athletics announced today that Sean Murphy, a 27-year-old minor leaguer with the franchise, was found dead yesterday in Arizona. Murphy, a native of Philadelphia, was 27.

“The A’s are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of Sean Murphy,” A’s executive vice president of baseball operations Billy Beane said in a release. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.”

According to Philadelphia Baseball Review, Murphy was a native of Thompson Street in Fishtown. Like his older brother Pat, Murphy was a sports star at Northeast Catholic High School. The Spirit profiled the family just last week. Read more »

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