ACLU files suit against Norristown
This is by the formidable Frank Kummer of sister site philly.com.
The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a federal lawsuit against Norristown on behalf of a woman tossed from her rental home after police were called there multiple times for domestic violence.
At issue is a borough ordinance that enacted penalties against landlords of properties where police were called three times within a four-month period. The penalty caused the landlords to remove those tenants living there, according to the suit.
Lakisha Briggs, who filed the suit yesterday in Philadelphia, claims the ordinance violated her constitutional rights of free speech, unreasonable search and seizure, and due process. Briggs, 33, seeks an unspecified amount of damages.
The suit says Briggs’ eviction was the result of police being called to the property to protect her from her boyfriend during several incidents in early 2012. Briggs was renting a house on Wayne Ave. at the time with her three-year-old daughter.
Because of the ordinance, Briggs became so fearful of calling police that she did nothing when the boyfriend attacked her with a brick. Nor did she call when he allegedly broke an ashtray against her head and stabbed her with a glass shard from it, rendering her unconscious. Others, however, did call the police. Those calls counted toward the three strikes under the borough’s "disorderly behavior ordinance," the suit maintains.
The ACLU claims the ordinance “stripped domestic violence victims” of police protection because it “silenced them” from calling police, thus encouraging their abusers. Briggs has since moved to another rental home in the borough.
The suit also names several current and former Norristown officials. The ordinance has since been repealed, but a newer ordinance has been adopted with similar provisions. The ACLU suit also seeks to halt enforcement of the newer ordinance.
Robert Glisson, Norristown's interim municipal administrator, said in a statement that officials have not received the complaint, and so can't comment on its specifics. The statement said that the, "new provisions of the Municipality’s Rental License Ordinance reflect the Municipality’s attempt to require landlords to assist in attempting to reduce incidences of disorderly behavior caused by tenants in the Municipality, which adversely affect the law-abiding citizens of Norristown."
Speaking of Norristown ...
On Saturday, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Markely Street/U.S. 202 South in Norristown will be reduced to one lane between Elm Street and Harding Boulevard as crews install an underground drainage pipe. The pipe is part of a $20.8 million project to rebuild Markley Street. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation said "Flaggers will direct an alternating single lane of northbound and southbound Markley Street traffic through the work area."
For more information visit the PennDot website.
Drug bust in Hatboro
Hatboro Police this week charged a Philadelphia man with possession of controlled substances with intent to deliver and other drug charges. Hatboro Police and other members of the Montgomery County Drug Task Force, said they saw Terrance Malik Anderson, 29, "approach a female in a parking lot and the two appeared to engage in a hand-to-hand drug transaction." Police found Anderson in possession of 120 bags of heroin, seven bags of cocaine and a small amount of marijuana.
He is in the Montgomery County Correctional Facility in lieu of $250,000 cash bail.
Car drives into Bala storefront
A man who drove his car into the Walls and Windows storefront at 172 Bala Avenue in Lower Merion Township, was arrested by police there. Police on Wednesday saw the car, a Volkswagen Jetta, blocking the intersection of N. Highland Avenue and Raynham Road. When they approached, the driver, 23-year-old Kentrell Darry Ceasar, sped away as police followed. The car ultimately stopped about 15 feet since the store. Two employees there were unhurt. Authorities learned the car had been reported stolen.
Ceasar was charged with driving under the influence, fleeing and attempting to elude police, receiving stolen property and other charges.
And as a special service ...
Because I care about children caught in war and about helping parents here at home to have the best relationship with their children, I give you news about Joseph Kony and his Ugandan rebel group, the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA).
Kony's name might sound familiar to parents and surely sounds familiar to countless young people in Montgomery County who tuned into YouTube last year to see a massively popular viral video by the nonprofit group Invisible Children, about the atrocities Kony has committed. The video urged his capture in 2012. Kony remains free and dangerous. How does he elude so many countries, including the United States, who are looking for him and his band of kidnapped soldiers? He gets by with a little help from his friends.
On Friday, the respected nonprofit advocacy group, The Resolve, released a report showing that the government of Sudan once again supported the LRA from 2009 until, at least, 2013. Sudan also had backed and armed Kony and the LRA from 1994 until 2004 as a move against Uganda supporting rebels in South Sudan.
High school and college students in this region and around the United States flocked last year to this cause. Here's to keeping the public informed about developments.