Where’s Black Lives Matter? Philadelphia now has the highest murder rate among large US cities – where’s the outrage?

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PHILADELPHIA, PA- As of Thursday, July 22nd, the number of homicide victims in Philadelphia in 2021 is up to at least 314 people, an increase of 35 percent compared to the same time in 2020. 

According to reports, Philadelphia now has the highest murder rate in the country per capita of the country’s 10 largest cities. The city has already surpassed many total-year tallies.

To put the statistic into perspective, in 2021, homicides-to-date, just six months into the year, are higher than the full year totals in six of the past 12 years. In June, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney blamed the city’s murder rate on how easily people could get guns and that has been a banner year for legal gun sales.

At the time, Kenney called on the federal government to solve the problem by enacting stronger gun-safety measures. However, according to the data, more than one-third of the shootings so far this year have happened in the same five zip codes in North Philadelphia.

The zip codes hit hardest by the gun violence are Hunting Park, West Philadelphia, Kingsessing, Kensington and Port Richmond.

Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner has repeatedly blamed violence-plagued communities on current policing practices, claiming the policing practices have caused “traumatization of neighborhoods” and drove a wedge between law enforcement and the community they serve. 

However, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw stated that is not the case and that the police force has been doing everything possible to put a stop to the gun violence.

Both Kenney and Outlaw have tried to assure the public that they are doing everything they can to stop the bloodshed in the city. Outlaw said in a statement:

“It’s not secret that we’re experiencing one of the worst periods of violent crime in our city’s history.”

She added that the mayor was not wrong in his assertions regarding guns and pointed out that part of the problem was criminals using guns that were not commercially manufactured. She stated that most of the gun arrests made by her officers were on repeat offenders who already have open gun cases against them.

However, she added that those individuals are out wreaking more havoc in the community while they are waiting for their cases to move forward. Outlaw said in a statement:

“We need these arrests to stick. We need for there to be serious consequences because these folks have shown that there is no regard whatsoever.”

Her remarks point to Krasner’s failure to hold criminals accountable in the city since he was elected in 2017. The district attorney’s office says that from January 2021 to May 2021, of the 178 homicides reported to police, 36 of them, or 20 percent, have resulted in at least one arrest. 

Outlaw says that reducing crime is not just a job for police, but that the community needs to be involved as well. She said in a statement:

“It’s the people in the community who know who committed a lot of these crimes and if they don’t feel comfortable enough in coming to us and saying, ‘I know who did this,’ that tells me that we have to strengthen what we are doing internally.”

Reportedly, during summer 2020, Krasner announced a plan to fight back against a spike in violent crime by embedding prosecutors in police stations and not prosecuting many other crimes. He claimed that his plan would allow police to focus on bigger crimes, not marijuana possession, and improve community relations. 

At the time, Krasner said in a statement:

“The record of this office now and the record moving forward will make it very clear. You can decarcerate for non-serious offenses, which improves society, it improves prevention, while you simultaneously save the necessary hammer of law enforcement for those who are killing and hurting other people.”

Community activist Bilal Qayyum agrees that there is no quick fix to combating gun violence. His said that it is a tough situation that calls for tough measures. He added:

“If a shooting takes place in a certain neighborhood, you go in and you lock down that neighborhood. Now, that is not comfortable with some folks, but you close down the drug houses, close down the gambling houses.”

Outlaw stated that she is hopeful things will turn around, saying:

“There will always be hope. We will not live in fear. You know, I live here too and this will turn around because we are starting to see more and more people come together in solidarity. They are speaking up for their neighborhoods and saying, ‘No, this is not going to happen here.'”

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Criminals open fire on police officers responding to a triple shooting of teenagers in Philadelphia

July 20th, 2021

PHILADELPHIA, PA – Philadelphia Police are currently investigating a shooting that wound up injuring 3 teenage boys in West Philadelphia, where responding police officers were also fired upon.

According to authorities, the shooting incident happened slightly before 11:30 p.m. on July 18th in the area of 53rd and Market Street. Officials say that an 18-year-old was shot in the leg, a 17-year-old was shot in the wrist, and a 16-year-old was shot in the buttocks.

When officers responded to the scene of the shooting, officials say that the officers were forced to take cover as an unidentified individual was reportedly firing in their direction. Officials noted that none of the officers on the scene returned fire.

As for the three teenage victims, they were transported to an area hospital and were last listed as being in stable condition.

The weekend in question was a relatively violent one in Philadelphia, as reports note that nearly a dozen people were injured by gunfire that occurred on July 18th.

One of those injured was identified as a 15-year-old boy that had suffered gunshot wounds to the legs in the Kingsessing area, which responding officers were said to have transported the child to Penn Presbyterian Hospital.

A 29-year-old man had also reportedly shown up at the same hospital, having suffered a gunshot wound to the leg. A 19-year-old gunshot victim also suffered a graze wound to the knee in a shooting that happened within the 5500 block of Malcolm Street just before 3:00 p.m. on July 18th.

Shortly before 5:00 p.m. that same day, a 16-year-old was shot in the thigh and a 23-year-old was shot in the wrist within the 200 block of Montana Street in Philadelphia’s East Mount Airy neighborhood.

At approximately 5:30 p.m., a 34-year-old man was shot within the 1600 block of West Seltzer Street, with authorities saying the victim is fighting for his life after being brought to Temple Hospital in critical condition.

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In Maine, police officers also were attacked when responding to a disturbance call in Portland where they detained an armed felon while combatting a hostile crowd. 

Here’s that previous report from earlier in July. 

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PORTLAND, ME – Earlier in July, three Portland Maine Police officers were injured while responding to a disturbance call that reportedly involved an armed felon that attacked arresting officers.

Furthermore, a press release from the Portland Maine Police Department noted that a “hostile” crowd had gathered around the officers enacting the arrest, with an additional suspect trying to fight the officers who were arresting the armed felon.

On July 11th at approximately 7:26 p.m., Portland Maine Police officers had responded to a reported disturbance ongoing along the block of 25 Preble Street. As responding officers were interviewing witnesses at the location, they happened upon a man later identified as 21-year-old Frederick Archer.

Officers claimed to have noticed a handgun tucked into Archer’s waistband, which the officers confirmed with dispatch that Archer it is a convicted felon and thus not permitted to own/handle a firearm.

According to the press release, a scuffle ensued once officers attempted to take Archer into custody:

“Officers quickly confiscated the weapon before Archer attempted to escape and resist officers’ attempts to make an arrest. Archer became assaultive and made several attempts to obtain officers’ firearms during the confrontation.

Archer punched, scratched, kicked and spit in officers’ faces and other parts of their body as he was being restrained and detained.”

As officers were working to get Archer detained, police say that “a crowd formed and acted hostile towards officers” and that a juvenile suspect started to provoke officers into engaging into a physical confrontation:

“A person in the crowd, a 17-year-old male of Portland, challenged officers to fight and acted aggressively. The suspect threw a metal container at the hood of a police vehicle, causing damage, and shoved an officer.”

Three officers were reportedly injured while arresting Archer, which they were treated and released at an area hospital following the arrest.

Archer was booked into the Cumberland County Jail under charges of felon in possession of a firearm, two counts of assault on a police officer, and a charge of assault and refusing to submit to arrest.

The 17-year-old male was arrested under charges of assault, disorderly conduct, criminal mischief and criminal threatening. Police say that he was later released into the custody of a parent following the arrest.

Portland Maine Police Chief Frank Clark issued the following statement regarding the incident and arrests:

“We hold our officers to high standards and expect them to display professionalism, courtesy and compassion during their interactions with the public. It is not too much to expect the same level of decency in return, so that everyone involved in an interaction goes home safely to their family.”

“There is a single common denominator during incidents in which force is used by police, that is that someone is being resistive, assaultive, or displaying active aggression or life threatening actions towards our officers or members of the public.”

“Our officers are trained to assess these threats, and then react and respond accordingly. I would expect them to do nothing less. I am asking those hiding in the shadows to cease the random, cowardly and unwarranted violence against our police officers. Portland is better than that.”

Mayor Kate Snyder also shared a statement admonishing the actions of the hostile crowd that had gathered and complicated the arrest of an armed felon, saying:

“Violence is never an appropriate response. And violence aimed at those who are on the front line ensuring all of our safety is reprehensible. Members of the Portland Police Department deserve our support and respect. They have mine.”

City Manager Jon Jennings noted the following about the incident:

“The attacks on our police officers are completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated. We have one of the best police departments in the entire country and they deserve this community’s respect. I want to thank each and every one of them for their service.”

In other recent news regarding wounded law enforcement officers, a sheriff’s deputy was shot in his hand while escorting an inmate at a doctors appointment to a restroom inside of a hospital in Texas. 

We at Law Enforcement Today shared the details on this incident that occurred earlier in July. 

Here’s that previous report. 

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HOUSTON, TX – A Harris County deputy was reportedly shot in the hand during a scuffle with an inmate he was escorting to the restroom while at a hospital in Houston earlier in July.

The inmate, who was reportedly brought to the hospital for a doctor’s appointment, has since been charged for the shooting of the deputy.

On July 14th at approximately 4:20 p.m., 35-year-old inmate Thaddeus Lewis was at the Ben Taub Hospital for an unspecified doctor’s appointment while under the guard of a Harris County deputy.

The deputy was said to have been escorting Lewis to the bathroom in the hospital when a scuffle broke out between the inmate and the deputy.

Houston Police officials say that Lewis attacked the deputy once they were inside of the restroom, grabbing the deputy’s gun at one point during the struggle and shooting the deputy in his left hand.

Authorities say that hospital staff responded and came to the deputy’s aid, helping get Lewis detained.

The injured deputy, who has not been identified by name, was described as a 36-year veteran of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office. Officials say that he is in stable condition following the incident.

Lewis has since been transported back to the Harris County Joint Processing Center and has been charged with aggravated assault against a peace officer, in addition to the previous charges Lewis faces which are possession of a controlled substance and felony possession of a weapon. 

The Houston Police Department is handling the criminal investigation into the incident, while the Harris County Sheriff’s Office takes the lead on the administrative portion of the investigation. 

Earlier in July in Iowa, a correctional officer was attacked by an inmate at the Anamosa State Penitentiary.

Prison officials say that the attack occurred on July 9th slightly before 2:30 p.m. as the correctional officer was supervising a group of inmates.

The unnamed inmate was said to have started punching the correctional officer, leading the correctional officer to using pepper spray and other defensive techniques before additional correctional officers responded and got the inmate under control. 

Officials say that the correctional officer suffered minor injuries, but was checked out at a local hospital as a precaution. It’s unclear what charges, if any, will be brought against the inmate regarding the incident. 

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