Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Another Coronavirus Casualty: Philly Police To Stop Making Arrests

Veteran journal and author Ralph Cipriano offers a piece at on the Philadelphia Police no longer making arrests due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus.

At 4 p.m. today, because of the coronavirus health crisis, Philadelphia police will no longer be making arrests for all narcotics offenses, theft from persons, retail theft, theft from auto, burglary and vandalism.

In addition, there will be no more arrests for all bench warrants, stolen autos, economic crimes such as passing bad checks and fraud, and prostitution.

According to a message sent out this afternoon to all police chief inspectors, staff inspectors and police captains, Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw, cops who "encounter persons who would ordinarily be arrested for these offenses . . . will adhere to the following procedures:"

-- Cops are to "temporarily detain the offender for the length of time required to confirm identity (this may require the deployment of mobile fingerprint scanners)."

-- Prepare all relevant paper work, and then "release offender."

-- Send an arrest affidavit to the district attorney's charging unit -- where arrest warrants go to die -- and if the charges are approved, detectives will obtain arrest warrants to "be served at a later time."

"If an officer believes that releasing the offender would pose a threat to public safety," Outlaw wrote, "the officer will notify a supervisor, who review the totality of the circumstances and utilize discretion, in the interests of public safety, in determining the appropriate course of action."

As an investigative reporter, I immediately asked one police officer I happened to pass by today what the new procedures mean if, say he saw Ralph Cipriano walking down Broad Street with 50 bags of heroin hanging out of his pockets.

The officer responded that under the new guidelines, during the coronavirus crisis, he would be required to stop me and introduce himself, at a distance of six feet, of course. Then he would take down my name, confiscate my drugs, and send me on my way with a courteous, "Have a nice day."

You can read the rest of the piece via the below link: 

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