Tomorrow, she will go on the offensive in her quest for justice for her
son, Lawrence Allen, who was unarmed when he was gunned down more than
a year ago by an off-duty Philadelphia police sergeant.
Bowen, members of the Rev. Al Sharpton’s National
Action Network, and about 100 others will gather at 11 a.m. outside the
22nd District’s headquarters, at 17th Street and Montgomery
Avenue, to protest former District Attorney Lynne Abraham’s
decision not to file criminal charges against the cop, Chauncey
Ellison used to work in the 22nd District. He’s been
on desk duty since he allegedly shot Allen in the back in West Oak Lane
on Nov. 17, 2008, following a dispute.
Allen, a 20-year-old father of three, was left paralyzed from
the chest down. He died three months later, after battling numerous
infections and dropping more than half of his body weight.
The Daily News learned
last Tuesday that Abraham, in one of her last actions as district
attorney, sent a note to Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey, saying
that she declined to criminally charge Ellison.
“My faith is actually shot, to be honest with you.
It’s like, I trust no one,” Bowen said.
"I feel like the case was pushed under the rug, and that if we
don’t do anything, the stuff that happened to me will happen
to other people.”
Numerous witnesses said Ellison was enraged on the night of the
shooting as he searched for a man who had robbed and punched his
He chased a suspect to Renovo Street near 20th, where he
enountered Allen, who lived on the block, and a number of
Allen’s friends and relatives. The two exchanged
Witnesses said another off-duty cop, Robin Fortune, loudly
encouraged Ellison to take action against Allen.
Ramsey promised to decide soon if he will take displinary
actions against Ellison. District Attorney Seth Williams also pledged
to review the case.
Greg Brinkley, the president of the Philadelphia chapter of
the National Action Network, said the civil rights group is troubled by
the fact that local law enforcment officials reacted quickly to a
similar incident involving an off-duty cop who fatally shot an unarmed
man, while Ellison’s case languished.
Officer Frank Tepper was fired Jan. 4, less than two months
after he gunned down William “Billy” Panas Jr.
during a melee in Port Richmond that involved Tepper’s
relatives. Abraham gave the case to a grand jury.
Tepper and Panas are white; Ellison and Allen are black.
“We’re not surprised at the actions of
Lynne Abraham, who has always devalued African-American lives by virtue
of all of the uncharged, unresolved police shooting cases,”
"This man [Allen] got shot in the back. You had witnesses. How
do you justify not pressing charges?”