NEWS CLUES: Like A Swinging Nightstick Of Truth

THE BEATDOWN : Cops Change Their Story On Shooting Suspect Ass-Kickingclockwork3.gif

AS THREE young men beaten and kicked by police in a car-stop arrest captured on videotape face a court hearing today, police officials have changed their account of the shooting they say led to the trio’s arrest. The day after Fox News showed as many as 15 officers kicking and punching the men after they were pulled from their car, Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey said narcotics officers on surveillance saw the three suspects and a fourth man emerge from their car and walk toward 4th and Annsbury streets, where a group of people had gathered. The fourth man fired at the group and then fled on foot, Ramsey said, and police units tracked down the three others who had left in the car. Now, police say that there was no fourth man and that 19-year-old Pete Hopkins, one of the three who were beaten and arrested, fired the shots that wounded three men on the corner before police pursued the vehicle. The new revelations show how 10 days after the videotaped violence that cast Philadelphia in a bad light around the world first surfaced, investigators are still struggling to explain what happened and why. “So that’s their story now — that’s convenient,” said attorney D. Scott Perrine, who represents Hopkins. “The police commissioner himself said there is a fourth random shooter who runs off. Now, all of a sudden, we hear this allegation,” Perrine said. “It’s absurd. These are highly trained surveillance officers and they claim they can’t even count the number of people who emerge from a car.” [via DAILY NEWS]


THE BEATDOWN 2: Cop Brutality Hearing Quickly Devolves Into Kangaroo Court

clockwork2.gifThis morning’s hearing for three shooting suspects — whose beating by police was caught on a helicopter news video — ended in postponement, shouted protests against police brutality, and arrest warrants issued for several missing witnesses. Philadelphia Municipal Court Judge Jacquelyn Frazier-Lyde ordered the preliminary hearing for the men to be postponed until July 17 after Assistant District Attorney Carol Meehan Sweeney announced that several shooting victims had failed to appear for the hearing. Sweeney then requested and received from the judge bench warrants for three victims shot on May 5: Gerald Cooper, Brandon Crowe, and De’Angelo White. The victims were gunned down shortly after 10 p.m., allegedly by three men, the same three, police said, whose beating was filmed by a Fox29 news helicopter. Frazier-Lyde then angered defense attorneys by suddenly recusing herself when it came to the question of whether the suspects should be freed on bail. The judge did not state a reason in court and the attorneys said she also did not elaborate in a sidebar conference. The packed courtroom then emptied into the lobby of 24th and 25th Police District’s headquarters. Loud shouting erupted as family and supporters of the suspects complained about the beatings and the fact that they had been denied bail. [via the INQUIRER]


PHILLY NO-FI: Taxpayers Paid $2.6 Million For Non-Existent Citywide Wirelesss

PHILADELPHIA — The wireless Internet network that was supposed to cost the city nothing hasn’t been as free as promised. Mayor John Street last year forgave what was initially a $1.4 million loan from the city to help Wireless Philadelphia get off the ground, meaning the project has so far cost city taxpayers more than $2.6 million. The forgiven loan is on top of at least $1.26 million, according to city records, that’s been spent on consultants to both start the project and steer it toward completion — something that may not happen now that Earthlink announced its shutting things down June 12. Aside from the loan, the city has also paid technology consulting company Strategic Staffing Solutions $571,279 since 2004 and $463,000 to Civitium. Civitium has since hired Dianah Neff, who proposed the network as Street’s Chief Information Officer. Six other companies were paid a combined $234,371. The city may wind up recouping some of the money if it reaches an agreement with Earthlink on ending a 10-year contract that the company wants a federal judge to break. [via THE METRO]

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