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 »

Ramsey: “We Are Not at War With the Communities We Serve”

Commissioner Charles Ramsey discusses the recommendations of the White House Task Force on 21st Century Policing. Ramsey helped co-chair the task force.

Commissioner Charles Ramsey discusses the recommendations of the White House Task Force on 21st Century Policing. Ramsey helped co-chair the task force.

Philly Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey met the local media Tuesday morning to discuss the recommendations of the White House Task Force on 21st Century Policing that he helped co-chair, and what those recommendations mean for Philadelphia.

Some highlights: Read more »

4 Charts That Show Stop-and-Frisk Is a Terrible Crime-Fighting Tool

I’ve always wondered why supporters of the police tactic known as “stop and frisk” think so highly of it. I guess it’s easy enough for them to brush aside questions of racial fairness and constitutional permissibility — if you’re a law-and-order type, laws that restrain police are mere obstacles to enforcing the kinds of laws that restrain suspected criminals. It’s a bad-guy-versus-good-guy world, and the good guys should always get as much help as they need fighting the bad guys, right?

Maybe. Here’s the problem though: All too often “stop and frisk” turns out to be a lousy crime-fighting tool. The ACLU of Pennsylvania on Tuesday released a report showing just how lousy. According to the analysis, Philly Police initiated more than 200,000 stop-and-frisk encounters in 2014. These five charts from the ACLU report are based on a random sample of 2,974 pedestrian stops that occurred during the first half of that year.
Read more »

ACLU: Philly Police Still Stopping and Frisking

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Updated with response from police.

Philadelphia Police continue to single out “racial minorities” for unfair and unconstitutional stop-and-frisk searches, the American Civil Liberties Union said in a report released today. The ACLU said it was considering seeking “court intervention” in the matter.

“On the issue of whether stops and frisks are supported by reasonable suspicion, the data shows very high levels of impermissible stops,” the ACLU said in a court filing.

“And, on the issue of whether impermissible racial factors are causing high numbers of racial minorities to be stopped and frisked, consideration of the ‘benchmarks’ for assessing possible racial bias demonstrates that non-racial factors do not explain the racial disparities,” the filing said. “There is an urgent need for substantial improvements on both issues, and if that is not accomplished in the near future, we will seek court intervention.”

“The Department is aware of the recent filing by the ACLU and the law department will respond accordingly via the courts,” Philly Police said in a written statement released this afternoon. “The Department will not release any rebuttal prior to taking the appropriate legal action through the courts.”
Read more »

Update: Missing Girl, Twins Are Found

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[Update: 2:45 p.m.] Johnson and her babies have been found, according to an announcement from Philadelphia Police:

Good afternoon, confirmed through Gloucester City, NJ Police Department, Missing Person Ruth Johnson and her 7 day old twin daughters have been located in good condition. Thank you.

[Original] Police are asking for the public’s help to locate a missing girl and her newborn twins.
Read more »

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