Sunday, November 23, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Getting away with it

Getting away with it

Too many Philadelphia corruption cases, too little time. I've written in this space many times about the remarkable work that Wendy Ruderman, Barbara Laker, and now David Gambacorta have done in exposing police corruption. But here's a sad fact: While the vast majority of police officers are hard-working and dedicated public servants, there are still more crooked cops than there are reporters (and hours in the day) to expose them,

Which is a long way of saying that I'm glad to see my friend Daniel Denvir of the City Paper is on the case:

On Aug. 31, 2010, Fernando Echevarria was walking near the corner of York and Leithgow streets in North Philly when he saw Jose Vargas, a friend from the neighborhood, in the back of a police car. He stopped to check it out: Vargas’ face, he says, looked beaten up. Then, Echevarria claims, Police Officer Eric Burke told him to move along. He walked a few houses’ distance away; there, two women told him that Burke had “messed” Vargas up pretty badly.

As Echevarria watched — according to a lawsuit he filed against the city — Burke and another officer took Vargas out of the car, pulled his pants down and began an invasive public search. Echevarria took out his phone to videotape, but Burke approached, saying, “Didn’t I tell you to leave?” Echevarria says he turned to walk away, but Burke knocked him down, handcuffed him and scraped his head against the ground. Then, according to the suit, Burke stomped on his skull. 

“What he did was wrong,” says Echevarria, who declined to further discuss the incident with City Paper. And it wasn’t over yet.

Please read the whole thing.

Then, check out a great column by the Inquirer's Karen Heller about the stomach-turning case of the Nutter administration -- long hailed for its (relative, I guess) cleanness -- creating a laughable job for a political hack with a shady past. OK, so maybe John McDaniel didn't get away with it -- he got fired. But you know who did get away with it. The man where "the buck" of hiring McDaniel stops: Mayor Nutter.

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Will Bunch
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