Ramsey Makes Right Call on Body Cameras. But …

Well-done, Commissioner Ramsey.

No, that’s not patronizing or sarcastic. I’m genuinely excited that the commissioner has announced his support for outfitting Philadelphia Police officers with so-called “body cameras” — like the dash cams attached to police cars, only attached to the officers themselves.

The cameras can only aid the cause of justice in Philadelphia. They’ll aid police, backing up their descriptions of crimes and crime scenes that they witness, giving prosecutors and juries confidence that they’re getting the full story. (See the Wolfcon commercial above, compiled of clips officers apparently believed help back their stories.) But they might also restrain the worst impulses of the department’s rogue officers: In Rialto, California, use of force fell by 60 percent — and citizen complaints by 88 percent — in the first year. That’s astonishing.

And that’s why Ramsey wants to start a pilot program, testing the cameras, by year’s end.

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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 »

Witnesses: Man Punches Woman After Northern Liberties 2nd Street Fest

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UPDATE: Internal Affairs is investigating police response to this incident. For the full story, go here.

ORIGINAL:

Sunday night was a festive one in Northern Liberties. The sixth-annual 2nd Street Festival brought in thousands of people for bands, beers, and cool food and craft vendors. A fun time was had by all — at least until the party was wrapping up. Read more »

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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264 Charged With Marijuana Possession Since City Council Voted to Decriminalize

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On June 19th, Philadelphia City Council voted to decriminalize the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana, passing a bill introduced by Councilman Jim Kenney. But Mayor Michael Nutter opposes the bill, and Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey has said that he will continue to make marijuana arrests, even if the bill is signed into law. In the month following the bill’s passing, 264 citizens were charged with the crime.

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