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.
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ACLU: Philly Police Still Stopping and Frisking

crime main

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.”
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Update: Missing Girl, Twins Are Found


[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.
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Officers Charged With Brutal Beating of Motorist

Officers Sean McKnight and Kevin Robinson.

Officers Sean McKnight and Kevin Robinson.

Najee Rivera is lucky to have a very determined girlfriend, or he might be sitting in jail today, convicted of charges stemming from his own allegedly illegal beating by police.

Najee Rivera, shortly after the be.ating

Najee Rivera, shortly after the incident.

It was Rivera’s girlfriend who — in the aftermath of his 2013 beating and arrest by two Philadelphia police officers who said he was resisting arrest — canvassed the neighborhood where the incident took place and discovered security camera video showing the officers had allegedly lied about the incident. Charges were dismissed, and today District Attorney Seth Williams announced charges against officers Sean McNight and Kevin Robinson for beating Rivera and making false reports about the circumstances.

Williams held out hope that in light of policing controversies in Ferguson, Missouri, and elsewhere, Philadelphia citizens might be satisfied by the local charges. “Hopefully this case will show Philadelphians that our system here works,” he said.

But officials acknowledged that without the actions of Rivera’s girlfriend, the video might’ve gone undiscovered — and that Rivera would’ve gotten the worse of a his-word-against-the-police situation when he was brought to court.

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Twice-Fired Philly Cop Sues Ramsey, City

John Hargraves was fired from his job as a Philadelphia police officer back in October 2012 after he was arrested and charged with aggravated assault following an altercation with his wife. But the 17-year veteran of the force was found not guilty on all charges in 2014, and now he has filed a federal lawsuit (below) against Commissioner Charles Ramsey and the city, saying that his civil rights were violated. Read more »

Outrage Over Philly Paramedic’s Anti-Cop Social Media Posts


The above photo was posted to Instagram by Philadelphia paramedic Marcell Salters, along with the message, “Our real enemy … Need 2 stop pointing guns at each other and at the ones that’s legally killing us and innocents.” In another post, he wrote he “never did or will like police.” Geeze, generally when you don’t like coworkers you just grumble behind their back.

Obviously, these are posts that might get you in trouble any any job, let alone one where you work firsthand with police officers. “The fire commissioner believes this photo crossed the line,” CBS 3 reports. Obviously he does! Fire Commissioner Derrick Sawyer said he “thought it was disgusting.”

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Protesters Decry Police Headquarters Move to West Philly

A group of about 75 protesters denounced the proposed move of police headquarters to West Philadelphia.

Philadelphia Police have long planned to move to the former Provident Mutual Life Insurance building at 46th and Market streets. The Roundhouse, police headquarters at 8th and Race streets, is considered to be the worst building ever by pretty much everyone who has ever worked in it.

A community meeting was held last night about the move at West Philadelphia High School ; protesters didn’t disrupt it.

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