Teens charged as adults for assaults

Three of five teenagers arrested yesterday have been charged as adults in connection to three assaults that occurred near Main Campus last Friday, the district attorney’s office announced Wednesday.

Najee Bilaal, 16,  Zaria Estes, 15, and Kanesha Gainey, 15, have been charged with aggravated assault, conspiracy, possession of an instrument of a crime, terroristic threats, simple assault and recklessly endangering another person.

Gainey’s bail was set for $75,000 while both Bilaal and Estes had bail set at $100,000 each.

The DA’s office didn’t say who is believed to have used a brick to attack a 19-year-old student who broke her jaw and required emergency oral surgery.

According to court records, Bilaal has been arrested six times since December 2011, including on charges of retail theft and criminal trespassing. Three of the arrests were made by SEPTA police for theft of services.

Neither Estes nor Gainey have prior arrests listed in the Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania.

Bilaal’s zip code is listed in West Philadelphia near University City, according to court records. Gainey had a listed zip code from West Philadelphia and Estes had a Northwest Philadelphia zip code. Police yesterday said the teens left Temple after the attacks on a SEPTA bus heading south on 17th Street.

The next court date for the teens is set for April 10.

John Moritz can be reached at john.moritz@temple.edu or on Twitter @JCMoritzTU. 

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.]

‘Real World’ star Swift arrested outside of Draught Horse, TMZ reports

Alumnus and “The Real World: St. Thomas” star Brandon Swift, 23, was arrested last night, Oct. 31, outside of the Draught Horse, TMZ reports.

TMZ updated at 9:57 a.m. today with reports that Swift was arrested for disorderly conduct, was given a citation, and has since been released.

Early this morning, Swift was vocal about the incident on his official Facebook page:

“Always voice your opinion even if its the Police!” the post read. “[#F—] Select Members of Temple Police…Im not scacred of yall and I will always say what I gotta say to you dirty filthy liars AND I hope this gets back to yall! #MiddleFingersUp! …Sorry for the rant all but it was necessary.”

To read The Temple News’ profile on Brandon Swift, click here.

For more on this, check back with temple-news.com.