Philly Native Chosen to Lead Ferguson Police Department

 (Source: Glendale Police Department)

(Source: Glendale Police Department)

A Philly native is taking over the police department in Ferguson, Mo., where clashes between police and protesters last year helped set off the “Black Lives Matter movement nationwide..

Andre Anderson, 50, has spent 24 years with the police in Glendale, Arizona, rising to the rank of commander, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Prior to that, though, he served in the Army and grew up in Philadelphia, becoming an amateur boxer long the way.

“Anderson said he takes a lot of pride in having grown up in Philadelphia, a city with a rich boxing tradition. He began training at age 12 and boxed his way through the Army as a formidable amateur,” the Arizona Republic said in a 1999 profile. “After leaving the Army, he moved to Arizona and fought two professional fights, winning both, before his boxing career was shattered in 1988. That is when he was struck by a car while fixing a flat tire along Interstate 10 near Eloy.” Read more »

My 10-Step Plan for Emancipation From Police Brutality

NEW YORK CITY - AUGUST 23 2014: Thousands rallied in Staten Island demanding justice & accountability in the deaths of Eric Garner, Michael Brown & other victims of alleged police brutality a katz / Shutterstock.com

NEW YORK CITY – AUGUST 23 2014: Thousands rallied in Staten Island demanding justice & accountability in the deaths of Eric Garner, Michael Brown & other victims of alleged police brutality a katz / Shutterstock.com

Municipal police departments, as they are now known, began as slave patrols. In fact, the first official one started in 1704 in the Colony of Carolina and then spread throughout the South until 1865. The laws creating those patrols required white men to ride the roads and, as documented by Western Michigan University history professor Dr. Sally Hadden in Slave Patrols: Law and Violence in Virginia and Carolina, engage in the “monitoring … (of) rigid pass requirements for blacks … breaking up large gatherings … of blacks, … searching slave quarters randomly, [and] inflicting impromptu punishments.”

Sound familiar? Yeah! A lot like 2009 when more than a quarter million persons in Philadelphia were subjected to “Stop and Frisk.” Despite African-Americans constituting 44 percent of the city’s population, they constituted 72 percent of the persons stopped and frisked. And because the vast majority was black men, that means (after extrapolating from available race/gender figures) approximately 20 percent of Philadelphians comprised, inexplicably, nearly three of four persons stopped and frisked. By the way, of that quarter million, less than about eight percent led to formal arrests and even less to convictions. Read more »

The Brief: Why the “Philly Is Baltimore” Protest Was Mostly Peaceful

The "Philly Is Baltimore" protest | Photo by Victor Fiorillo

A scene from the “Philly Is Baltimore” protest | Photo by Victor Fiorillo

1. The “Philly Is Baltimore” Protest Was “Tensely Peaceful,” and That’s a Good Thing

The Gist: After riots and looting broke out this week in Baltimore in the wake of the death of Freddie Gray, state Sen. Anthony Williams said Philadelphia is “sitting on a powder keg.” District Attorney Seth Williams said “at any given time, anything could happen.” Thankfully, though, Thursday’s “Philly Is Baltimore” protest was, according to news reports, largely peaceful. Philadelphia magazine’s Victor Fiorillo, who was there, called it “tensely peaceful” and said “as of 11 p.m., we’d only heard about a handful of arrests.”

Read more »

Baltimore’s Freddie Gray Died in Police Custody — Could the Same Thing Happen Here?

freddie-gray-police-van

On the morning of April 12, a handcuffed Freddie Gray was placed in the rear of a Baltimore police van. He was not buckled in. When he was removed about 45 minutes later, he had a crushed voice box and severe spinal injuries. Gray died a week later, and now Baltimore is roiling.

We don’t know yet what happened to Gray, but the timeline has investigators focused on his trip in the back of that police van, and speculation is rampant that Gray was treated to a “rough ride,” or as it’s been called in Philadelphia, a “nickel ride.”

What is a nickel ride, exactly? Well, it’s nothing new in Philadelphia. Let this 2001 Inquirer investigation by Nancy Phillips and Rose Ciotta explain: Read more »

If You See a Cop Stop, Start Recording

North Charleston police officer Michael Slager caught on video shooting Walter Scott in the back.

North Charleston police officer Michael Slager caught on video shooting Walter Scott in the back.

For the past week, the country has spent a lot of time — perhaps too much? — watching North Charleston, South Carolina, police officer Michael Slager fire his gun repeatedly into the back of a fleeing Walter Scott, who died. Slager was denied bail and is currently sitting in jail awaiting trial for murder. But would that be the case if not for the bystander who caught the tragic shooting on video? I think not. Read more »

The Astonishing Ubiquity of Walter Scott’s Death

Walter Scott Shooting

I spent the better part of the last week avoiding video of the Walter Scott shooting. I read the various articles that accompanied it as it came across my screen – up and down my Twitter timeline and in various pockets of my Facebook feed. In every report and opinion, the video of a man’s last violent, terrifying moments were embedded close by, as though the mere description of such tragedy was not enough.

As I sat for dinner at a quiet Italian restaurant, the video I’d long avoided confronted me again and again thanks to CNN’s insistence. As it looped, I looked around to see if other people noticed, or were disturbed, or took issue. Technology, which has made this conversation possible, is now preparing to make many of us desensitized. Read more »

Questions Surround Death of Man in Vineland Police Custody

phillip-white-vineland-police-940x540

Phillip White via Facebook

Vineland police arrived on the 100 block of Grape Street on Tuesday after a report of a disorderly man. They left with 32-year-old Phillip White in an ambulance. He was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Officials are tight-lipped about the man who died in police custody in Vineland earlier this week, but some details have come out: Witnesses told NBC 10 they saw police punching the man and a police dog biting him.

On radio, a policeman said White tried to go for his gun. A witness told The Daily Journal the man was resisting arrest. Read more »

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