All eyes are on Philadelphia’s Police Commissioner after the shooting death of Brandon Tate-Brown.
Her words were slow, deliberate and directed mainly towards Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey, who was recently appointed by President Barack Obama to lead the Task Force on 21st Century Policing.
“I’m calling on you because Obama called on you and said you were the best,” said Ms. Tanya Brown-Dickerson, whose son, Brandon Tate-Brown, was shot in the back of the head two weeks ago by a Philadelphia police officer, “I’m calling you out to make it right.”
Among the reforms, Ms. Brown-Dickerson wants to see “new laws” that stop officers from “shooting to kill.”
She believes, as does her supporters, that there’s “no justification” for shooting a man when his back is towards you and he’s unarmed.
“I’m in pain while they try to justify what they do,” said Ms. Brown-Dickerson, who called the words uttered by Commissioner Ramsey in the aftermath of her son’s ambiguous murder, “cold, empty and calculating.”
Not only does the mother of the deceased want more compassion from the top brass, she wants more information and footage of what took place the morning of December 15th.
“Brandon isn’t coming home because of a routine traffic stop… I don’t know the middle of his situation and I do not know the end,” she said.
Body and dashboard cameras, of course, would’ve given both the family and the police department greater insight into the officer-involved shooting. Body cameras, however, are only being tested on cops in the 22nd district – though an officer told me the department has been experimenting with them since the 2011 eviction of Occupy Philly – and police cruisers in Philadelphia don’t have dashboard cameras.
Ms. Denise James, a former journalist currently employed as the Strategic Communications Director for Philadelphia Police Department, confirms that while the department is absolutely looking at body cameras, there are no dashboard cameras, nor are there any current talks about adopting them.
Mr. Kelvyn Anderson, Executive Director, Philadelphia Police Advisory Commission, said while his office hasn’t really had the conversation about dashboard cameras, its not uncommon for police departments to do their work without them.
“Major equipment isn’t automatic in any department,” he said.
Mr. Greg Brinkley, a former correctional officer turned private investigator who’s working with the family of Brandon Tate-Brown to unearth clues that’ll lead to some resolve, said to learn that the Philadelphia Police Department doesn’t have dashboard cameras and that they aren’t even considering them is “preposterous,” considering the concerns of so many when it comes to police brutality.
Mr. Brinkley was among a handful of Philadelphia activist who testified at City Hall last year in front of the United States Department of Justice regarding officer-involved shootings and police brutality in the City.
He said dashboard cameras, given the City’s propensity to tout its 21 century flair, are “way overdue” and suggested if Commissioner Ramsey is serious about being transparent and improving police and community relations, than what better way to start than with more cameras.
Mr. Brinkley said he wouldn’t mind paying more in taxes for the cameras. Even better, he said, “we should take out a bond or court private donors.”
But regardless of how it’s paid for or whether it’s a priority to the police commissioner, Mr. Brinkley said it’s too important to wait and its something the “people will demand!”
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