Police identify third suspect in robbery, assault of students

City police today publicly identified the third suspect sought in connection with last week’s robbery and assault of four Temple students as 24-year-old Elijah Washington.

Elijah Wahington is the third suspect believed to have robbed and assaulted four Temple students last week. | COURTESY PHILADELPHIA POLICE DEPARTMENT

Elijah Washington is the third suspect sought in the robbery and assault of four Temple students last week. | COURTESY PHILADELPHIA POLICE DEPARTMENT

The Philadelphia Police Department in a press release asked for public assistance in locating Washington, who may be in the area near the Wilson Park Housing Development, at 25th and Jackson streets, or in Southwest Philadelphia, near 52nd and Pentridge streets.

Last Monday, March 4, three men followed a Temple student to her off-campus apartment around 7:30 p.m. on the 1800 block of North 18th Street.

When she opened the door to her apartment, a man stuck a black revolver to her head and told her to keep walking, authorities said. After they gained entry to the apartment, one man duct taped the student while the other two bound the other three roommates in the front bedroom and took cash, computers, credit cards and cell phones from the students, police said.

Days after the incident, city police identified two other suspects in connection with the robberies: Tyree Johnson, 19, and Malcolm Murray, 18, both of North Philadelphia, were charged with aggravated assault, robbery and false imprisonment and related offenses.

Their bail was set at $800,000 each and they are scheduled to have a preliminary hearing on March 21, Tasha Jamerson, spokeswoman for the District Attorney’s Office, said.

Anyone with information on Washington’s whereabouts are asked to contact the PPD’s Central Detective Division at 215-686-3093, or dial 911.

ACLU takes on TTN Web Editor’s complaint against city

The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania filed a federal lawsuit today against the City of Philadelphia on behalf of photojournalism student Chris Montgomery, web editor of The Temple News.

The complaint asserts Montgomery was arrested in January 2011 while using his cell-phone to record an arrest near 15th and Chestnut streets and charged with disorderly conduct (he would initially be found guilty, but then cleared on appeal). His video was also deleted.

Law enforcement officers in Pennsylvania, and particularly in Philadelphia, often “misapply criminal statutes to punish citizens who observe, photograph, or otherwise record police activity,” the suit alleges.

Police officer David Killingsworth, the arresting officer, is also named in the suit.

Listed in the complaint are similar instances in which citizens were allegedly stripped of their rights while recording police officers on the street; including the case of Ian Van Kuyk, a film and media arts major who, in March 2012, was allegedly arrested for filming police action in South Philadelphia.

A spokesman for the Philadelphia Police Department declined comment to the Daily News.

Staff attorney at the ACLU Mary Catherine Roper told the paper: “Clearly there’s a pattern of Philadelphia police trying to discourage people from watching what they do by arresting them and charging them with crimes.”

Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey in September 2011 issued a memorandum, reiterating police officers’ expectation to be “photographed, videotaped or audibly recorded” by members of the public and by individuals temporarily detained.

[Editor’s Note: Chris Montgomery, web editor of The Temple News and the plaintiff in this case, took no part in the reporting, editing or posting of this story.]

Alumna behind same-sex marriage case heading to Supreme Court

A federal lawsuit challenging the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act set to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court was filed by a Temple alumna, the New York Times reports.

Edith Windsor, an 83-year-old alumna, has challenged the federal law, specifically a section that prohibits same-sex spouses from receiving a number of benefits. That section has caused its fair share of costly problems for Windsor, whose wife, Thea Spyer, died in 2009 (because she wasn’t considered a spouse by the IRS, she’s paid more than $600,000 in taxes).

The Supreme Court agreed to hear the case last week.

Experts in the Times report seem to think Windsor’s story – specifically the emphasis on a perhaps-unequal tax level – will resonate with members of the highest court. How do you think the Supreme Court will stand on the issue?

Senate committee’s bill would keep Temple’s funding at current level

Tweets from the university’s government affairs Twitter account went live about an hour ago, offering a bit of hope for those fighting against cuts in Temple’s state funding–or at least those in the Twittersphere.

The Pennsylvania Senate Appropriations Committee unanimously approved a bill that would restore the proposed funding cuts to the university, the tweets announced, which were outlined by Gov. Tom Corbett in February. The bill would keep Temple’s funding for the next fiscal year at its current amount.

When Corbett introduced his proposed budget for fiscal year 2012-13, he called for a 30 percent cut to Temple’s funding–reducing the appropriation from $139.9 million to $97.9 million. Although Temple stood to receive $139.9 million this year, 5 percent, or approximately $7 million, was held due to a shortfall in state revenue.

Ken Lawrence, senior vice president for government, community and public affairs, said he has been working with the senators on the appropriations committee these past few months to introduce this Temple-specific bill. Bills for Penn State and the University of Pittsburgh, also facing proposed cuts, would be separate, he said.

The bill still needs to be passed by the senate, the state house of representatives and the governor. But while it’s far from set in stone, the bill is a step in the right direction, Lawrence said.

“What the bill the demonstrates is that the state senate considers higher education a priority in the budget and does not want to see a cut,” he said. “[The bill] puts us in a much stronger position than we were in last year at this time.”

Lawrence added that Temple has maintained that the 20 percent cut to its funding last year should be considered a two-year cut.

An estimated 10,000 people have utilized Temple Advocates Legislative Outreach Network, or TALON, to contact legislators on behalf of Temple, since Corbett’s proposed budget address, Lawrence said.

“This is not the end,” he said. “We still have a long way to go.”

The Twitter account, @TUGovtAffairs, concurred.

Temple Advocating Progress secures TSG executive office


Temple Advocating Progress has secured the executive office of Temple Student Government for 2012-13.

An announcement on the TSG Twitter verified the ticket’s victory.

TAP beat out opponent RUN TEMPLE. The ticket consists of David Lopez, TSG student body president, Ofo Ezeugwu, vice president of external affairs, and Julian Hamer for vice president of services.

Check back with temple-news.com for a longer piece on the results of the 2012 TSG executive election.

Ambler student pays fine for hacking to improve grades

A 31-year-old student who attended Temple Ambler admitted to using software to hack professors’ passwords last spring, the Washington Post reports.

Edwin Kim reportedly used keystroke logging software to obtain the passwords of some professors, in order to boost his grades. One professor reportedly could not enter the system, and later found Kim’s grade had been changed from an F to an A minus.

According to the report, Kim admitted to doing so, apologized and received probation and a $300 fine.

Kim could not be found in the university’s directory.

Video of raucous arrest involving Temple police surfaces online

A video of a scuffle near 16th Street and Montgomery Avenue involving two Temple Police officers has surfaced online.

In the video, Temple officers are seen attempting to apprehend a male, as he fights them off and a few fellow onlookers attempt to assist him. The officers are taken to the ground as they attempt to arrest the specific male. One officer eventually draws a gun.

Nearing the end of the video, fellow bike officers arrive at the scene.

Details on the website suggest the the crowd surrounding the incident, and the male arrested, is of high school age.

Titled “North Philly Man Retaliates After Cops Put Hands On Him 1st After Being Bumped With A Cop Bike!? (Points His Gun At High School Students),” the video, uploaded today to worldstarhiphop.com, has already received more than 55,000 views, according to the website.

The Temple News is awaiting comment from Campus Safety Services regarding the details of the arrest and the uploading of the video.

[UPDATE 1/26 5:04 p.m.: The incident shown in the video occurred after the apprehended man, Rodney Ganbrell , 19, punched an officer in the face, police have said. Click here for the full story.]

South Gateway residence hall project will likely don trustee’s name

Temple’s largest residence hall underway at Broad Street and Cecil B. Moore Avenue will likely don a trustee’s name, pending finalized paperwork.

At today’s Board of Trustees meeting, the trustees approved the authorization for the university to name the new residence hall, dining and retail complex. Although documents will still need to be finalized, David Unruh, senior vice president for Institutional Advancement, said the complex will likely be named in honor of Trustee Mitchell Morgan and his wife, Hilarie Morgan. The couple offered a $5 million donation for the project, he said.

Board Chairman Patrick J. O’Connor thanked the Morgans for their support to Temple as the board unanimously approved the naming process.

Mitchell Morgan is an alumnus, having earned an accounting degree, in 1976, and a law degree, in 1980, from the university.

Similarly, the board approved the following naming opportunities:

  • The box office and green room in the Temple Performing Arts Center for Kal and Lucille Rudman, two well-known philanthropists in the area. Kal Rudman is also a Temple alumnus.
  • The coach’s locker room in Edberg-Olson Hall for J. William Mills III, a trustee.
  • The hydrotherapy training center in Edberg-Olson Hall for Peter Chodoff, M.D., an alumnus and booster for Temple. The football practice field adjacent the hall is also named after Chodoff.

Police name suspects in robberies, release photos

The Philadelphia Police Department has released the identities of two men believed to be responsible for a series of robberies near Main Campus.

Four out of five robberies and attempted robberies included students, police say. The robberies occurred on Wednesday, Nov. 30.

Anyone with information about the whereabouts of the two men are asked to contact the PPD’s Central Detective Division at 215-686-3093.

(Top) Timothy Ballard. (Bottom) Kevin Wilson.

Hospital’s transplant programs hope to make comeback

Those in need of heart and lung transplants can breathe easy again.

Temple recently hired a Pittsburgh surgeon and researcher, Yoshiya Toyoda, to bring back Temple University Hospital’s heart and lung transplant programs, according to Philadelphia Magazine. Both of the programs became inactive at the end of the spring semester.

Toyoda came to Temple in October, from the University of Pittsburgh.

In August 2010, the Pennsylvania Department of Health cited the lung-transplant program for having higher-than-expected deaths after transplants, according to a May report by the Philadelphia Inquirer. TUH officials stated in the report that the program had been improving.

The lead surgeon for the lung transplant program left in May, causing the program to become inactive.

The heart transplant program reportedly was temporarily inactivated, too, due to low patient volume.

Temple has reapplied to the United Network for Organ Sharing in order to reactivate to the programs, Philadelphia Magazine reported.

Toyoda has been listed as a top doctor by U.S. News and World Report.

[Updated on Dec. 5 at 12:20 p.m.]