PHILADELPHIA, PA – Two years ago, James Gauthney was one of two suspects arrested in connection with the shooting of a hero cop.
At a press conference, District Attorney Larry Krasner announced that Gauthney’s bail was set at $1 million and that his office was going all out to prosecute the suspects in support of a “truly heroic officer.”
But the day of the preliminary hearing, to the consternation of cops everywhere, the D.A.’s office suddenly punked out. They dropped the charges against Gauthney because they didn’t think they could win the case.
Here’s the kicker to this story: Last week, the cops made a routine traffic stop after somebody ran a red light. And who did they wind up arresting?
Why James Gauthney, twenty-one, of Southwest Philly. A guy with a long rap sheet, who, according to the police report, looked “visibly nervous” when they pulled him over.
Maybe that’s because Gauthney was cruising around town with a loaded .380 pistol under his seat.
Thoughts and Prayers for Phila Police Officer Paul Sulock shot in the line of duty this morning. He is in stable condition, say a prayer for him, his wife & his four children. pic.twitter.com/nMgjTdjLXN
— Bob Kelly (@BobKellyFOX29) November 7, 2018
Gauthney’s back in jail and being held without bail for numerous firearms charges and for violating his parole. And now the question is, over at Larry Krasner’s corrupt and incompetent D.A.’s office, can anybody prosecute this case?
On November 7, 2018, Police Officer Paul Sulock was on patrol with his partner near G and Madison Streets in Kensington when they came upon a shoot-out. As the cops approached two men who were crouched behind cars, one of the men opened fire on the cops, striking Sulock in the leg.
On police radio, Officer Sulock was heard saying, “I’m shot. I’m shot in the leg.” The wounded officer then proceeded to chase down and apprehend the suspect who shot him.
“One male in custody,” Sulock said on police radio. “The other is in foot pursuit.”
After the suspects were in custody, the cops rushed Sulock to the hospital.
Jerome Hill, the guy Sulock apprehended, was charged with two counts of attempted murder, two counts of aggravated assault, reckless endangerment, and criminal trespass, in addition to other charges. Gauthney was charged with hindering apprehension, obstruction of justice and unsworn falsification to authorities and was held on $1 million bail.
Sulock was lucky to be alive. He’d been shot twice; one bullet went through his right thigh and nicked an artery.
The 24th District Family would like to say thank you to all of our friends and family from the department and the community. We are pleased to announce that Police Officer Paul Sulock has been released from Temple Hospital and has returned home to his family to recover. pic.twitter.com/UDfoQdOcsx
— PPD 24th District (@PPD24Dist) November 8, 2018
A day after the shooting, TV crews recorded dramatic footage of a wincing and limping Sulock as he walked out of Temple University Hospital. He was accompanied by his wife and his police officer father, as he passed a line of officers who were saluting him.
A month later, at a benefit for the officer, Fraternal Order of Police President John McNesby said of Sulock:
“This could [have] very well been a benefit for a fallen officer. It’s as simple as that.”
When he was interviewed by reporters at the benefit, Sulock was humble.
Sulock told the Northeast Times on December 8, 2018:
“I’m alive. The real heroes are the officers who lost their lives in the line of duty . . . I was just doing my job, doing a job that I actually love doing.”
When Sulock was shot, the D.A.’s office promised swift action.
Krasner had told reporters at a press conference:
“We are here to support this truly heroic officer. We want you to know that the District Attorney’s Office is taking this case extremely seriously.”
But five months later, the D.A.’s office was singing a different tune. At a preliminary hearing, they showed up in court and in less than a minute, announced they were dropping all the charges against Gauthney.
Ben Waxman, a spokesman at the time for D.A. Krasner said:
“We conducted a thorough investigation and concluded that we could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Gauthney was guilty of the charges brought by our officers in the case.”
Fast forward to February 29th of this year, when cops made a traffic stop at 3500 Emerald Street. Gauthney, a passenger in a car that ran a stop sign, appeared visibly nervous as the cops approached.
That’s because the cops subsequently discovered under the passenger’s seat a .380 caliber pistol loaded with seven live rounds, one of which was in the chamber. According to a police report, Gauthney admitted to the cops he did not have a permit to carry a concealed weapon.
#BREAKING: Philadelphia prosecutor has dropped charges against James Gauthney, involved in shooting of @PhillyPolice officer Paul Sullock. Gauthney was non-shooter, Jerome Hill was also charged. @KYWNewsradio
— Kristen Johanson (@KristenJohanson) April 16, 2019
Gauthney, the cops said, had several prior convictions that precluded him from legally possessing a gun. He was arrested on March 1st and charged with possession of a firearm, firearms not to be carried without a license, and carrying firearms in public in Philadelphia.
His rap sheet includes a guilty plea on February 6, 2018 for manufacture, delivery or possession with intent to deliver, for which he was put on probation for three years.
His rap sheet also shows that the D.A. dropping the charges that stemmed from the shooting of the officer was not the only break Gauthney got from the D.A.’s office.
On January 17, 2019, three charges against Gauthney stemming from a December 21, 2017 arrest were dropped: manufacture, deliver or possession with intent to manufacture or deliver; intentional possession of a controlled substance; and conspiracy. The case was also marked limited access, which means that the general public can’t see any record of the charges brought and then dropped against Gauthney.
It also means that those charges are in the process of being scrubbed from Gauthney’s record. But he’s got plenty of other arrests.
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On January 7, 2019, Gauthney pleaded guilty to two other charges stemming from a November 17, 2017 arrest: manufacture, deliver or possession with intent to manufacture or deliver, and conspiracy.
On March 25, 2019, he pleaded guilty to similar charges stemming from a February 23, 2018 arrest: manufacture, deliver or possession with intent to manufacture or deliver, and conspiracy.
On October 22, 2018, the D.A.’s office dropped two charges against Gauthney stemming from an August 30, 2018 arrest: manufacture, deliver or possession with intent to manufacture or deliver, and intentional possession of a controlled substance. This is also marked as a limited access case.
And of course on April 16, 2019, the D.A. withdrew the three charges stemming from the shooting of Officer Sulock: hindering apprehension, obstruction of justice and unsworn falsification to authorities. This case is also designated limited access, meaning the public would not see those charges.
On the latest gun charges against Gauthney, a preliminary hearing is scheduled for March 19th.
What’s the D.A. got planned for that event? Another one-minute surrender? Another limited access case?
As usual, Jane Roh, a spokesman for the D.A.’s office, and D.A. Krasner did not respond to a request for comment.
Over at the D.A.’s office, where Krasner once promised to be open and transparent, he and his sidekick Roh continue to respond to any questions from this reporter by stonewalling.
And since I’m the only reporter in town documenting the rampant corruption and incompetence in the D.A.’s office, Progressive Larry Krasner, the alleged reformer, is betting that he can continue to get away with it.
It’s a cynical game being played by a conman. To pull it off, the D.A. is going to need the continuing cooperation of The Philadelphia Inquirer and every other media outlet in town.
Knowing the mindset of many of my fellow reporters – I’m talking about all those progressive Democrats with bylines and committed social justice warriors – it seems like a safe bet.
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