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 »
Pennsylvania drivers were slapped with 1,140 tickets for texting and driving in 2014, according to a report by the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Court.
That’s an increase from 2013. In fact, the number of citations has gone up every year since the law went into effect since 2012. Read more »
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.”
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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 »
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 »
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 »
As the days go by since The Most Hated Man In America Right Now — aka North Charleston, South Carolina, cop Michael Slager, seen in his mugshot above — shot an unarmed black man in the back repeatedly, we’re learning that the 33-year-old accused murderer has roots in the Philadelphia area. Read more »
One week after 32-year-old Vineland man Phillip White died in police custody, a YouTube page associated with the hacker group Anonymous has threatened to expose the officers involved with the arrest and also to reveal other details about the incident. Read more »
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 »
Basic ShotSpotter sensor diagram | ShotSpotter.com
Yesterday Camden County released data from ShotSpotter, a gunshot detection tool that allows cities to track gunfire and develop proactive policing strategies as a result. The latest numbers show that between 2013 and 2014, the city of Camden experienced a 48 percent drop in gunfire — the third largest of 28 cities for which ShotSpotter has year-over-year data.
This puts Camden ahead of several larger cities in terms of gunfire reduction, most notably Chicago, Milwaukee and Oakland, California. It also coincides with a broader drop in crime in Camden: violent crime is down by 21 percent; homicide is down by 42 percent; and homicide by shootings is down by 46 percent.
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