Looks like FOP officials are still making good on their earlier promise to start calling out judges who they feel are too soft on repeat offenders. This time out, Judge Teresa Carr Deni is taking heat. (Nothing new for Deni, who found herself at the center of national firestorm last year when she dismissed rape charges and sexual assault charges against a man who allegedly raped a 20-year-old prostitute. Deni went on to tell the Daily News' Jill Porter that the prostitute's claims "minimizes true rape cases." Oy.)
Anyway, the new controversy:
Salim Walls had a special fondness for Center City businesses.
Police officials said the 26-year-old had long terrorized store employees and had stolen from retail shops near Broad and Walnut streets.
On Aug. 17, a plainclothes police officer who was downtown recognized Walls — who has 24 prior arrests, including eight on retail-theft charges — from a wanted poster and attempted to apprehend him, said police spokesman Lt. Frank Vanore.
Walls violently attacked the officer and tried unsuccessfully to grab the cop’s gun in the struggle, Vanore said.
But on Tuesday, Municipal Judge Teresa Carr Deni cut Walls a break.
Walls was facing 10 charges from his late-summer scuffle with police, including aggravated assault, disarming a law-enforcement officer, robbery and inflicting serious bodily injury, according to court records.
The judge tossed out nine of the charges, and opted to hold Walls only on resisting arrest.
The District Attorney’s Office has vowed to have Walls rearrested on all of the original charges, said Fraternal Order of Police vice president John McGrody.
Deni’s decision incensed FOP leaders, who last month all but declared war on judges who they feel are soft on violent, repeat offenders.
“Our main concern is protecting our police officers and the citizens of this city,” McGrody said.
“We’re not going to hold a press conference over every decision, but we’re trying to highlight the worst ones.”
The judge could not be reached for comment last night.