Ramsey Defends Police Statements in Tate-Brown Case

Blames media for "rush" to share details.

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey. AP | Matt Rourke

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey. AP | Matt Rourke

Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey on Thursday defended his department’s handling of the Brandon Tate-Brown case, saying his department provided an early, inaccurate account of the shooting because it was rushing to provide the media with the details it sought.

After the December shooting, the department said Tate-Brown was reaching into the passenger side of his car toward a gun when Officer Nicholas Carrelli shot him. Video released by the city on Wednesday showed that Tate-Brown was running around the back side of his car when he was shot.

AP reports:

“The first story is one that usually does not have everything down 100 percent in terms of accuracy,” Ramsey told reporters after speaking on policing at TEDxPhiladelphia’s “And Justice For All” symposium.

“We’re caught in the middle,” he said. “The media’s asking, ‘what happened, what happened, what happened?’ The people want to know. We give you what we have at that moment.”

Brian Mildenberg, the attorney suing the city on behalf of Tate-Brown’s mother, Tanya Brown-Dickerson, suggested the moment will be key to his case.

Tate-Brown “was in a running motion, forward, when he dropped, and was in no way anywhere near the passenger side door reaching in for any gun,” Mildenberg said on his web site. “This is a travesty of justice and a tragedy for Brandon and his family.”

Ramsey, though, defended the conduct of his officers. “One thing doesn’t change: there was a gun in the car. The officer saw the gun. There was a struggle. There was an attempt to get back to the car. There were witness statements that confirmed that.”