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.]

Police looking for suspect wanted in subway robbery

Philadelphia Police are looking for a man who they said took a 17-year-old girl’s phone at the Susquehanna-Dauphin stop on the Broad Street Line last week.

On Nov. 5, the girl entered the subway at the Olney stop and, after a short time, the man approached her, took the phone and fled the train, police said. The girl chased the man, but could not catch up to him.

The suspect is described by police as a black male of light complexion, wearing an orange hooded sweatshirt and black pants.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Central Detective Division of the Philadelphia Police Department at 215-686-3093.

Police investigating series of off campus robberies

Philadelphia Police are investigating three robberies off campus between Sunday Nov. 11, and Monday Nov. 12, according to a TU Advisory. The robberies, involving students, took place west of Main Campus.

The first robbery was on Sunday at 8:45 a.m., on the 2000 block of North 18th Street. The suspect is described as a 30-year-old, black male, 5 feet 9 inches, wearing a black “beanie” cap, blue puffy coat and blue jeans, the advisory stated.

Nearly 12 hours later the next robbery was committed on the 1600 block of West Edgley Street. The advisory described that suspect as a black male, wearing a red hooded sweatshirt with the hood covering his face.

On Monday at 6 p.m., the third robbery was committed on the 2100 block of North 16th Street by a suspect described as a black male, 6-foot-1-inch, of thin build, wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and black baggy jeans, according to the advisory.

Police have stepped up patrols in the area and anyone with information is asked to contact  Temple Police at 215-204-1234.

Police looking for three suspects in cell phone robbery last month

Philadelphia Police are investigating a cell phone theft took place on Oct. 9, at 9:10 a.m., on the 1700 block of Diamond Street.

The victim was walking along the block when three males allegedly snuck up behind the victim and snatched the cell phone from his possession. The victim chased the offenders for several blocks before stopping his pursuit around 18th and French streets. Video surveillance has also caught two males believed to be the suspects.

The first suspect is said to be a black male who is 20 to 30 years old, has a mustache, and was last seen wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt. The second suspect is described as a black male in dark clothing. No description was provided for the third suspect.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Central Detective Division at 215-686-3093.

-Cindy Stansbury

Driver sought in hit and run on Diamond St.

Police are looking for the driver of a Dodge Magnum who they say hit a 22-year-old man on the north end of Main Campus Tuesday evening.

Deputy Director of Campus Safety Services Charlie Leone said in an email that around 6:20 p.m., the man was hit at the intersection of 11th and Diamond streets by a vehicle that drove away. The victim, who is not a Temple student, suffered cuts and bruises, but refused to be taken to the hospital.

A witness reported to police that the vehicle was a black Dodge Magnum, operated by a 20 to 25-year-old black woman wearing a pony tail. The witness was also able to obtain a partial license plate number of “HZF.”

Leone said the case has been transferred to the Philadelphia Police Department.

Bail decreased for two men charged in the murder of alumnus

Bail has been reduced for two men charged with murder in the Jan. 14 beating of 2010 Temple alumnus, Kevin Kless.

Judge Benjamin Lerner approved the reduction of the bail for Steven Ferguson, 21, from $500,000 to $150,000 agreed upon by Assistant District Attorney Brendan O’Malley and defense attorney Stephen Patrizio. He also reduced bail from $500,000 to $40,000 for Felix Carrillo, 23.

For the full story, click here.

-Dominique Johnson

[Updated at 11:55 a.m. on 7/3/2012]

Two bank robberies occur toward the south end of Main Campus

The FBI and Philadelphia Police Department are investigating what they say are connected bank robberies that occured on the outskirts of Main Campus between  June 8 and 12.

Police said in a press release that on Friday at 12:09 p.m., a man walked into the United Bank of Philadelphia at 1501 N. Broad St and handed the teller a threatening note. After obtaining an unkown amount of cash from the bank, the suspect fled the scene on foot.

Yesterday, a similar incident occured at the Bank of America at 1600 N. Broad St., where a suspect entered the bank at 10:00 a.m. and gave the teller a demanding note. The suspect obtained cash and fled on foot from this incident as well, according to police.

Police said that they believe the suspect who robbed the Bank of America yesterday is the same man who robbed the United Bank of Philadelphia on Friday.

He is described as a tall, black male around 40-years-old and of medium build. Anyone with information is asked to call the violent crimes task force at 215-418-4000.

This man is suspected by police of robbing two banks near Main Campus. Courtesy Philadelphia Police Department