Sunday’s Inquirer published a fascinating piece on Philly’s big murder drop–2013 is on track for 80 fewer murders than in 2012–featuring a few likely explanations why.
The most alarming part of the Inquirer’s weekend story detailing the possible revival of “nickel ride” abuses by the Philadelphia Police Department wasn’t the (alleged) corruption described or the (alleged) injuries inflicted.
This was the most alarming part of the Inky’s story:
Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey declined repeated requests for an interview on the issue. His department also rejected requests to provide a statistical breakdown of cases in which police were disciplined for violating policies on transporting suspects.
Here’s the good news: The murder rate in Philadelphia has slowed so much that if the year ended today, the city would see a nearly 40 percent drop in violent deaths. Here’s the bad news: The year isn’t ending today.
For some reason, Don Lemon’s tenure in Philadelphia as a WCAU NBC 10 news reporter doesn’t stick out in my mind, probably because he existed well below the radar. He was a weekend anchor at the station for several years, and then went on to the big time at CNN.
He is still an anchor with the network today. But in the last year or so, the self-proclaimed “Twitter King” has joined the hijinks of the nationally syndicated Tom Joyner Morning Show to preach his ever-evolving doctrine of black respectability politics on Tuesday and Thursdays.
He’s giving Bill Cosby a run for his money.
It should come as no surprise that police departments monitor social media. After all, as a speaker revealed during a panel at last week’s International Association of Chiefs of Police conference, roughly 96 percent of law enforcement agencies utilize social media, and more than 86 percent for “investigative purposes.”
At least, that’s according to Kenneth Lipp, the Philadelphia-based investigative journalist at the center of what Chicago Police Department Lt. Steven Sesso calls a “headache.”
An Internal Affairs investigation has been launched after two men who were arrested at OutFest a few weeks ago claim that officers unnecessarily used excessive force when taking them into custody.
Most of the time, Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey comes off smelling like a rose.
It’s extraordinary, if you think about it. Under his tenure the last few years, the police department has A) settled a lawsuit with the ACLU over its stop-and-frisk policy, B) been the subject of a Pulitzer-winning exposé on a drug unit’s corruption, C) seen a police captain caught on video slugging a woman and still keep his job, D) barely seen a week go without fresh allegations that his officers have stolen money or committed sexual assault or simply been racist, basketball-hoop-toppling jerks.
Yet by all accounts, Ramsey is pretty well-liked in Philadelphia. A 2010 Pew poll put his approval rating at 69 percent — against 11 percent disapproval — and there’s no reason to think that number has moved significantly either way. Why? My guess is that when it comes to the worst traits of the police department, most of us have decided it’s not his fault.
Gosh, this doesn’t seem very nice: