Officials: We’re Ready for “Philly Is Baltimore” Protest

Photo | Jack Cotter

In December, Ferguson protesters interrupted traffic in much of Center City. | Jack Cotter

Philadelphia officials said today they’re ready for today’s “Philly Is Baltimore” protest at City Hall. No traffic or transit detours were planned — yet — but the city’s court system said it would close for business by mid-afternoon “out of an abundance of caution.” Read more »

The Brief: “We’re Sitting on a Powder Keg”

Police stand in formation as a curfew approaches, Tuesday, April 28, 2015, in Baltimore, a day after unrest that occurred following Freddie Gray's funeral. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Police stand in formation as a curfew approaches, Tuesday, April 28, 2015, in Baltimore, a day after unrest that occurred following Freddie Gray’s funeral. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

1. Baltimore, like Philadelphia, is largely led by black elected officials. Why was that not enough to prevent the protests and rioting?

The GistWrites Adam Serwer for Buzzfeed:

Monday’s riots in Charm City mark the end of an era where black outrage can be mollified by greater representation while stark inequalities persist. Today Baltimore has a black mayor, black police commissioner, and a police force evenly divided between black and white officers. Baltimore is no Ferguson, Missouri, a majority black city where black residents were inexplicably shut out of the city government, business elite, and police force. Instead of a beacon of hope, black representation has become a bitterly ironic symbol of how little has changed.

Philadelphia is much the same. Black Philadelphians are in the big chairs in the mayor’s office, the council president’s office, the district attorney’s office, the police commissioner’s office and the school superintendent’s office.

Why It Matters: But as in Baltimore, that representation hasn’t done a thing to equalize poverty or incarceration rates in the city. And so a lot of those black leaders are on tenterhooks. On Tuesday, mayoral candidate and State Senator Anthony H. Williams told the Inquirer that “we are sitting on a powder keg.” In the same article, District Attorney Seth Williams was quoted saying, “at any given time, anything could happen. That’s why we work so hard all the time to improve relations.” Read more »

“Philly Is Baltimore” Protest Planned Today

Source: Philly Is Baltimore page, Facebook

Source: Philly Is Baltimore page, Facebook

A “Philly Is Baltimore” rally is scheduled to take place at 4:30 p.m. today at City Hall. More than 1,400 people have already signed up on the event’s Facebook page to say they will attend.

The protest comes amidst days of protests in Baltimore — peaceful and otherwise — over the mysterious death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray, who suffered spinal injuries while in police custody there. And it comes while Philadelphia is undergoing a police reform effort of its own.

“There are so many similarities between what is happening in Baltimore and what is going on here in Philly,” protest organizers say on the Facebook page. “We stand with the Baltimore Protestors and Uprising.” Read more »

6 Key Moments From the Brandon Tate-Brown Police Lawsuit Announcement

Tanya Brown-Dickerson greets supporters after a press conference at Dilworth Park.

Tanya Brown-Dickerson greets supporters after a press conference at Dilworth Park.

The family of Brandon Tate-Brown, who was killed in a December scuffle with Philadelphia Police, held a noontime press conference at Dilworth Park today to explain their wrongful death lawsuit against the city. Six key moments from that event:

• Tanya Brown-Dickerson, Tate-Brown’s mother, on why she filed the suit:

“I believe with all my heart that my son’s rights were violated. He was not given a chance. I want the rest of Philadelphia to feel safe…

“I want the pain to stop, but I can’t stop fighting. I’m fighting for my son, and my neighbor’s 26-year-old.” Read more »

Lynne Abraham’s Startling Admission Should Disqualify Her

Lynne Abraham | Photo by Matt Rourke

Lynne Abraham | Photo by Matt Rourke

So, Lynne Abraham essentially disqualified herself in the mayor’s race last week.

She did so in such matter-of-fact, low-key fashion that I’m not sure that Philadelphians really noticed what she did. I’m not sure she noticed what she did. But the attitude she revealed was horrifying, dangerous, and a threat to the “new” Philadelphia so many people have worked to build in recent years. It needs a bit more sunlight.

Let’s rewind to the beginning. My Philly Mag colleague Holly Otterbein wrote about one of the last big decisions Abraham made during her two decades as the city’s district attorney — the decision not to prosecute Sgt. Chauncey Ellison or his then-girlfriend, Officer Robin Fortune, off-duty cops involved in the shooting of 20-year-old man, Lawrence Allen, over … pizza. Read more »

Police Officer Shot in West Philadelphia

Daniel Kostick, an eight-year veteran of the Philadelphia Police Department, was shot in the arm Thursday in West Philly while investigating a possible narcotics violation.

The incident took place after 10 p.m., near 51st and Master streets.

CBS Philly:

Police say Officer Daniel Kostick was assigned to bike patrol and was with his partners in the area of Wilton and Girard when they went to investigate a male inside a van for possible narcotics violations.

Police say when they approached, the van backed up and made a U-turn.

According to police, Officer Kostick found the male at 51st and Master Streets. “At that time they’re having a brief discussion, Kostick is still on his bike, the male turns to him and says, and I quote ‘I don’t want to have to do this,’ but then he fires at Officer Kostick, striking him in his right arm,” said Philadelphia Police Deputy Commissioner Richard Ross.

NBC 10:

Ross said Kostick, an eight-year veteran assigned to the 19th District was in “good spirits.”

“He’s very lucky given the circumstances,” said Ross.

Police later found the suspect in an alley behind the 5000 block of Master Street. Police also took a second person into custody along the 4900 block of W Stile Street, said sources with knowledge of the investigation.

6ABC adds: “One suspect was also shot. That person was apprehended and taken to Hahnemann Hospital.”

Kostick is reportedly a married father of two.

Three Philadelphia Cops Arrested, Charged


From left: Christopher Hulmes, Christopher Jackson and Roderick Walton.

Three Philadelphia Police officers — including a narcotics officer who admitted he lied under oath in a drug case — were arrested and charged in separate cases, prosecutors said today.

“The vast majority of Philadelphia Police Officers are nothing short of good men and women who are dedicated to protecting the citizens of the City of Philadelphia within the law,” District Attorney Seth Williams said in a press release. “Unfortunately, there are a few like these three officers, who have decided to break the law.”

The arrested officers included: Read more »

Tell Us All About It: One of Philly’s Best 911 Dispatchers Speaks

911 dispatcher Celestine Stanford at her desk inside the Police Administration Building, where she takes hundreds of calls each day. Photo | Christine O'Brien, Philadelphia Police Department

911 dispatcher Celestine Stanford at her desk inside the Police Administration Building, where she takes hundreds of calls each day. Photo | Christine O’Brien, Philadelphia Police Department

911 operators in Philadelphia have a rough job. Anyone who calls these civil servants is either complaining about something or reporting a serious emergency (or making a prank call), and often, lives hang in the balance. So we decided to get one of them on the phone to find out what it’s like. Meet South Philadelphia’s Celestine Stanford, a 56-year-old St. Maria Goretti graduate who has been taking your 911 calls for 28 years. Last week, the Philadelphia Police Department announced that Stanford was one of three winners of the 2015 Dispatcher of the Year Awards. Read more »

State Rep Wants to Make it Illegal to Taunt Police, Cites Cops’ “Emotions”


Photo | Joel Mathis

On Tuesday, way out yonder in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, state lawmakers, police officers, and other officials gathered in the State Capitol for a rally in support of law enforcement personnel, led by Pennsylvania State Senator John Rafferty, who entered a resolution in the State Senate to recognize 2015 as the “Year of the Cop.”

“It used to be when a law enforcement official answered the call for a burglary on an armed robbery, he or she worried about a situation where their life might be threatened,” Rafferty said at the rally. “After 9/11, we’ve seen a dramatic change in the attitude in this country, and in the world. Law enforcement officials are now being targeted because they wear a badge.”

True enough. And sure, why not call 2015 the Year of the Cop? We’re all for it.

But then another Pennsylvania lawmaker decided to say a few words — as first pointed out by the blog Raging Chickens Press — and those words have us scratching our heads a bit.  Read more »

(Update) Nutter Offers $20K Reward in Hit-and-Run


[Update 12:35 p.m.] Police have released video from the incident. It does not show the precise moment of impact, but be warned it may still be difficult to watch:

To submit a tip, call 215.686.TIPS (8477) or send a text to PPD TIP or 773847.

[Original] Mayor Nutter is offering a $20,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of a driver whose SUV struck and killed a 4-year-old boy Monday night in Southwest Philly. Read more »

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