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 »

10 Takeaways From the Department of Justice Report on Philly Police

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey. AP | Matt Rourke

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey. AP | Matt Rourke

There is an “undercurrent of significant strife” between Philadelphia Police and the community they serve, the U.S. Department of Justice reported today.

The federal review — undertaken by the feds at the invitation of Commissioner Charles Ramsey, after reporting showed that police-involved shootings had risen despite an overall drop in the crime rate — found that police training in using less-than-lethal force was inconsistent and, at times, insufficient, and that a “lack of transparency” about such incidents had helped cement distrust in the community.  Read more »

Tate-Brown’s Mother Calls for Peaceful Protest

Tanya Dickerson, center, is flanked by Asa Khalif, left, and Brian Mildenberg, right, during a press conference on Thursday. Dickerson's son, Brandon Tate-Brown, was shot to death by police in December; DA Seth Williams announced earier in the day no charges would be filed in the death.

Tanya Dickerson, center, is flanked by Asa Khalif, left, and Brian Mildenberg, right, during a press conference on Thursday. Dickerson’s son, Brandon Tate-Brown, was shot to death by police in December; DA Seth Williams announced earier in the day no charges would be filed in the death.

A day after a protest in her son’s name erupted into a violent skirmish at a community meeting on policing, the mother of Brandon Tate-Brown issued a statement rejecting violence and calling for peaceful protests.

“Ms. Brown-Dickerson rejects all forms of non-peaceful protest,” said the statement issued by Brian Mildenberg, the attorney for Tanya Brown-Dickerson. “Ms. Brown-Dickerson rejects all form of violence. Ms. Brown-Dickerson calls for peaceful protests in the manner of The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The statement also called for a toning down of rhetoric directed at Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey and District Attorney Seth Williams. “Any protesters who speak to these public servants disrespectfully are urged to behave with dignity, and to peacefully protest,” it said.

Williams on Thursday announced he would not bring charges against the officers involved in the shooting of Tate-Brown, 26, who died in a December incident. Police said it appeared he was reaching for a gun in his car when the shot him; Tate-Brown’s family disputes that account. Read more »

WATCH: Protest Over Tate-Brown Shooting Turns Violent at Community Meeting

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Thursday night’s town hall on policing at Lawncrest Recreation Center was scheduled weeks before D.A. Seth Williams announced that he would not bring charges in the killing of Brandon Tate-Brown. But that announcement today assured that emotions would be running high, and just as soon as the meeting opened with the introduction of Commissioner Charles Ramsey, protest broke out. Things escalated from there. The meeting eventually resumed; numerous protesters were reportedly arrested, none requiring medical attention. Read more »

Civil Suit Likely in Brandon Tate-Brown Death

Tanya Dickerson, center, is flanked by Asa Khalif, left, and Brian Mildenberg, right, during a press conference on Thursday. Dickerson's son, Brandon Tate-Brown, was shot to death by police in December; DA Seth Williams announced earier in the day no charges would be filed in the death.

Tanya Dickerson, center, is flanked by Asa Khalif, left, and Brian Mildenberg, right, during a press conference on Thursday. Dickerson’s son, Brandon Tate-Brown, was shot to death by police in December; DA Seth Williams announced earlier in the day that no charges would be filed in the death.

The Brandon Tate-Brown saga isn’t over. It might be just beginning.

Hours after District Attorney Seth Williams said he would not bring criminal charges against the two officers involved in the December shooting death of Brandon Tate-Brown, his mother and her attorney suggested that a civil suit is still likely — and that they have evidence which contradicts Williams’ basis for declining charges.

“I want transparency,” said Tanya Dickerson, Tate-Brown’s mother, at a press conference in front of City Hall. “We don’t see transparency.” Read more »

D.A.: No Charges in Tate-Brown Shooting

District Attorney Seth Williams, surrounded by community and clergy leaders, presents his case for not bringing charges in the Brandon Tate-Brown case.

District Attorney Seth Williams, surrounded by community and clergy leaders, presents his case for not bringing charges in the Brandon Tate-Brown case.

No charges will be brought against the officers who shot Brandon Tate-Brown, District Attorney Seth Williams said today at a midday press conference.

“In this case the facts show a tragedy. A terrible tragedy. But not a crime,” Williams said.  Read more »

Boy, Suspect Found

Carlos Manuel Lebron Jr., left, is accused of abducting  Yandel Ernesto Rosario, right.

Carlos Manuel Lebron Jr., left, is accused of abducting Yandel Ernesto Rosario, right.

[Update 10:22 a.m.] Police report the boy and the suspect have both been found.

[Original] Police are looking for a 4-year-old boy and the 35-year-old man — an ex-boyfriend of the boy’s mom — believed to have kidnapped him.

Philadelphia Police put out this release this morning: Read more »

Funeral Set for Officer Wilson

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Funeral services have been set for Officer Robert Wilson III, the Philadelphia Police officer shot by robbers last week at a North Philadelphia GameStop. Meanwhile, vigils and tributes continue to celebrate the officer’s life.

According to the police:

• A viewing will be held 4 to 8 p.m. today at Francis Funeral Home, 5201 Whitby Avenue.
• A second viewing with be 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. Saturday at the Palestra.
• Funeral services will then be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, still at the Palestra.
• Burial will follow at Fernwood Cemetery, 6501 Baltiore Ave. Read more »

Holder Condemns Killing of Philadelphia Officer

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U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder today condemned last week’s slaying of a Philadelphia police officer — part of a broader statement against anti-police violence.

Officer Robert Wilson III was killed during a gun battle with two robbers at a North Philadelphia GameStop last week; he’d stopped to pick up a present for his son when the robbery occurred. Holder mentioned Wilson’s death in a statement condemning the overnight shooting of two officers in Ferguson, Mo. Both the officers survived.

“I condemn violence against any public safety officials in the strongest terms, and the Department of Justice will never accept any threats or violence directed at those who serve and protect our communities—from this cowardly action, to the killing of an officer in Philadelphia last week while he was buying a game for his son, to the tragic loss of a Deputy U.S. Marshal in the line of duty in Louisiana earlier this week,” Holder said. Read more »

Ramone Williams and Carlton Hipps Charged In Murder of Philly Cop

Carlton Hipps, left, and Ramone Williams.

Carlton Hipps, left, and Ramone Williams.

Around 4:45 p.m. on Thursday afternoon, Philadelphia Police Officer Robert Wilson III stopped inside the GameStop at 21st Street and West Lehigh Avenue to pick up a video game for his son when two men walked in to rob the store. In the chaos that ensued, Wilson was shot three times, later dying at Temple University Hospital. Less than 24 hours later, two men have been charged with his murder.

The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office has charged brothers Ramone Williams and Carlton Hipps with murder and conspiracy, officials announced at a press conference just before noon. District Attorney Seth Williams called the two men “cowards” and “pure evil.” Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf labeled them “thugs.” Another official called them “scum.” Read more »

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