Officer Wounded, Suspect Dead in Overnight Shootout

Stephen_Korpalski-400x400[UPDATE, 2:00 p.m.] Police released the name of the deceased suspect, David Ellis, along with his mugshot (at the bottom of this post). Ellis had a history of arrests, and was reportedly released after serving 6 years of a 4 to 10 year sentence.

[UPDATE, 12:20 p.m.] Police have announced that Stephen Korpalski, the Philadelphia Police officer shot during an overnight altercation, has been released from the hospital and is recovering at home. The identity of the suspect, who was pronounced dead after being struck by return fire, is still being confirmed. The suspect’s gun was recovered at the scene of the shooting.


A Philly Police officer was hospitalized overnight after a shootout left him with a deep graze wound to the side of the head. A suspect in the shootout was killed during the exchange.

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How to Better Police the Philadelphia Police


While it’s difficult to think about police issues beyond what’s going on in Ferguson this week, Philadelphia is in the thick of a police problem of its own.

ellen-kaplan 400And in the aftermath of the latest scandal — in which a half-dozen members of the notorious narcotics squad were charged with various corruption offenses — there have been increasing calls for action: Ellen Kaplan, interim president and CEO of the Committee of Seventy, last month called for the creation of a permanent civilian oversight board for the Philadelphia Police Department. (Specifically, the committee endorsed a charter amendment proposed by Councilman Curtis Jones.) This week, the Philadelphia Inquirer echoed that call on its editorial page.

“Right now, I think that the public is pretty distrustful of the police force when they hear these kind of allegations,” Kaplan said this week. “And it’s really not fair. Most officers do not behave in the way that it’s alleged that these folks on the narcotics squad behaved. It really casts a dark cloud over the entire police department.”

Kaplan talked to Philly Mag about the proposal.

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Did Philly’s Former Police Commissioner Develop Ferguson’s Crackdown Techniques?


TimoneyPhoto1One bit of irony regarding the massive police crackdown on protesters (and journalists) in Ferguson, Mo. this week: Democracy advocates in the Middle East began tweeting advice to their American compatriots on how to deal with tear gas attacks and similar police techniques. Make of that what you will.

The New York Times reports, though, that some observers see perhaps a stronger connection between the two regions: The heavy-handed techniques used by Ferguson’s police, they say, bear a striking resemblance to those developed by former Philly Police Commissioner John Timoney. 

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Narcotics Cop Investigated for Lying

It’s only been two days since Inquirer columnist Karen Heller — memorably, we thought at the time — promised that we’d see another narcotics squad scandal in five to seven years.

Turns out her estimate might’ve been off by, oh, five to seven years.

City Paper’s reporter Dan Denvir reports that Philadelphia Police Officer Christopher Hulmes has been taken off street duty after he “admitted in December 2011 to lying in open court and on a search warrant affidavit.” Internal Affairs is investigating.

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Internal Affairs Investigating Police Response to Alleged 2nd Street Assault

Philadelphia PoliceOn Sunday night, a man allegedly punched a woman on the street after the 2nd Street Festival in Northern Liberties. The punch was described by one witness as the hardest punch he had ever seen.

Police were called several times. But according to many of the people who were there during and in the aftermath of the incident, some of the police did not respond appropriately to the situation. And now, Internal Affairs is investigating. Read more »

PHOTO: Suspect Identified in Killing of 3-Year-Old

Brandon_Ruffin_2012This is Brandon Ruffin. Police say he’s their remaining suspect in Friday night’s shooting that killed a 3-year-old girl. Douglas Woods, 22, has been charged with murder in the case.

“The following photo is of 22-year-old Brandon Ruffin, with a last known address on the 2300 block of Wharton Street in South Philadelphia,” police said in a Monday afternoon press release. “Ruffin is wanted by the Homicide Unit for his involvement in the quadruple shooting/homicide that occurred on Friday, August 1, 2014, 9:40 pm, on the 1500 block of South Etting Street.”

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Are Narcotics Corrupting the Police Force?


Six Philadelphia Police officers facing federal corruption charges.

Well, it finally happened: Philadelphia’s war on drugs finally caught some white guys in its net.

The bad news: They all happened to be working members of the Philadelphia Police Department.

It’s actually a great thing, the timing of the indictment of a half-dozen Philly narcotics officers (above) on corruption charges. It comes while Mayor Nutter still has on his plate a decision on whether to approve or veto City Council’s bill to decriminalize marijuana in the city.

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New Police Contract Creates $70 Million Budget Hole

Philadelphia Schools

One thing about the big raise an arbitrator granted to Philly Police last week: City Hall hadn’t really budgeted for it.

The raise — officers get hikes of at least three percent each of the three years of the contract — will cost $70 million. Now Mayor Michael Nutter must find money for that extra expense in his five-year budget. He says he’ll try to avoid cuts in other services while doing so.

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Philly Police Freak Out Over Theater Company’s Bomb Prop

Photo courtesy of Applied Mechanics

Photo courtesy of Applied Mechanics

We can’t blame the police for being a bit alarmed when this contraption was discovered near 12th and Vine on Friday morning. They shut down the streets. They evacuated businesses. They alerted the feds. They called out the bomb squad. They blew it the hell up.

After all, it sure does look like a bomb. And it probably didn’t hurt that it was found near the Post Brothers’ GoldTex building, site of more than a few union confrontations not so long ago.

But it turns out that it was just a very realistic theater prop.

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