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Tariq El-Shabazz (Inquirer)

A new candidate has now officially thrown his hat into the District Attorney’s race: Tariq El-Shabazz.   Or as I prefer to refer to him: the “orange bearded fellow”, visible from great distances, that magnificent mane that no one can help but notice.

There’s a lot of things that bring me pause to El Shabazz as well as those who serve in law enforcement who have been talking to me about him.

He’s financially destitute.   El-Shabazz owes the state and federal government loads of money in back tax liens.  Mounting tax liens in the six-figure range is not a sign of great financial management and it would seem he’s closer to declaring bankruptcy than he is declaring victory in a DA’s race.  He says he has it all wrapped into a payment agreement–but so far he won’t disclose any proof such an agreement exists.  Considering that new liens are being attached to him; it’s highly unlikely that what he’s saying can be believed.

His most recent experience has been as a defense attorney.  And it wasn’t a very successful career as one.   A few lawyers that know him mutually that I have spoken with did comment positively that he’s been effective at trial.  However his business acumen in keeping a defense law practice up and going?  Not so much.   Philadelinquency uncovered that his law practice was evicted for non-payment of rent.

These are just some of the basic things we know.   Today I have something to show you that’s a lot bleaker.

PFA1_fix2

A Montgomery County court docket that was sent to PDQ by courier shows that in 2009 an individual filed with a court a Protection From Abuse petition.   A “PFA” is a court order barring a stalker from going anywhere near a person they are abusing.  Usually they are filed due to domestic violence and for stalking cases.   If the order is violated this gives local police the right to immediately incarcerate an individual as violating a PFA order is itself a crime.

In this particular protection from abuse order Tariq El-Shabazz fought to have it upended by hiring a lawyer who got the PFA reversed.  While PDQ does not have copies of the actual court filings themselves, the docket seems to indicate that the PFA was indeed withdrawn.

More information has come to PDQ that also seems to cast serious doubt as to Tariq El-Shabazz as being a resident of Philadelphia.   Like the case with Fred Ramirez who lives in Bristol but wants to be a state representative for North Philly, Tariq El-Shabazz has been known to live in Hatboro, PA for a number of years.    The person that filed the protection of abuse order against him also lives in Willow Grove in Montgomery County.

He Probably Won’t Want To Talk About It

Like his IRS liens, I’m pretty sure El-Shabazz won’t want to talk about protection from abuse orders to the media or even to the public who are voting in the election this May.  Leaving this PFA unanswered is not going to be a winning strategy.

There’s also been some vexing in the local press about there not being a black candidate running for DA after Keir Bradford-Grey declined to run for the position, even after (alleged) coaxing from the likes of billionaire Democrat-funder George Soros.

If Tariq El-Shabazz is hoping to ride into the District Attorney’s Office solely on the content of his skin alone and have identity politics carry him to the finish line that may not work.

While the voter turnout is expected to be low, this is the year where the endorsement of the Fraternal Order of Police matters a great deal.  Many in law enforcement who live in Philadelphia from the police (well, those who haven’t moved out of the city yet), prison guards, Sheriff’s deputies and Federal court employees not to mention all the other workers who interact with the criminal justice system on a routine basis as employees—that’s thousands of people here–do turn out and vote as they do care deeply about who the next DA is.   The DA’s office is something they interact with on a routine basis and have a personal interest in the outcome of the race.

Moreover, the Democratic City Committee has made it a point not to endorse any candidate, leaving ward leaders of the city who go to the expense of printing out sample ballots free to endorse whomever they want.   Usually a ward leader will tip their hat to whomever is the most generous with their donations to the ward.

Another factor will be where voters vote.   For instance, citywide elections matter little to areas like Fishtown, Point Breeze or Strawberry Mansion where voter turnout is traditionally low.  It will matter a great deal to Northwest Philadelphia where voter turnout performance in off-season elections is much higher than average and to law enforcement who lives in those wards and up in the Northeast.

This will also be the first District Attorney’s race where Black Lives Matter could possibly be a factor in the outcome.  It remains to be seen if BLM can organize anything by May to activate people to vote.   Don’t count on BLM endorsing Tariq El-Shabazz though–he is best-buds with DA Seth Williams and that’s how he landed in his role as First ADA in the first place.

What Now?

With the DA’s office now an anything-goes, anyone-could-be-DA situation, El-Shabazz’s entry doesn’t create any new certainties in this chaotic scramble to replace Seth Williams.

It also doesn’t help that Philadelphians aren’t going to be that good expressing what they really want from a District Attorney.   It’s up to the batch of candidates running to try to stand out on their own with a vision of what law enforcement in our city should look like.

Would a pro-criminal DA that’s light on enforcement prove more popular with the public?

Perhaps a return to Lynne Abraham’s tough-cookie rule would be more palpable?

I don’t think anyone knows the answer to that.   A lot of people in Philly are very passionate about what they think is wrong with the criminal justice system in Philly, and their answers on how to fix it are impossible to pin down–but they know they’re angry.  I know I am as well.

Illegal gun prosecutions in Philly have dropped by more than half since Seth Williams took office and our homicide rate has been climbing.

That’s not good.

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Seth Side-Eye
[Awesome photo by the Inky]

C’mon.  This clown is indefensible.

Word on the street is that District Attorney Seth Williams‘ non-profit is going to close itself down.  Not that Williams wants to shut it, mind you, but because everyone else who is a part of it has had enough of the joke and is done.

Last week noted civil rights activist and lawyer Michael Coard wrote this scathing diatribe in the Philly Tribune.  Coard was once an acquaintance of Seth Williams.  On the political scale, Coard is left of Fidel Castro.  Coard flipped his shit and has had enough.  Wants him gone.

What is Seth Williams doing?  Posting bullshit bubble-gum community shit in hopes nobody notices his ethics miasma…

This is what all Philly politicians do when they’re in hot water and have a social media account.  Consider Councilman Bobby Henon who had his offices raided by the FBI a couple weeks ago…

Ho hum nothing to see, just some more community news!    Here’s the thing though–nobody is buying what Seth is selling.

And really you’re pretty much a chump if you vote for this clown.  For Pennsylvania’s first black DA he has trashed his reputation in much the same way as Pennsylvania’s first woman Attorney General has.   The difference being the conviction of Kathleen Kane has already happened.  The prosecution of our District Attorney has yet to begin.

And that’s where you really need to sit down and evaluate your life.  If you’re still a Seth supporter, ask yourself this:  why?   What good is Seth Williams to this city?   Illegal gun prosecutions have plummeted in this city under Seth which means more black deaths.   Seth’s misogyny is very well documented.  His ethical shortcomings aren’t outmoded by him having a track record of being a great prosecutor–because he isn’t one.

Moreover he just handed a top job at the office to a deadbeat friend of his who’s only qualification is that he needs money.

My secret contacts who work at the District Attorney’s Office tells me morale has never been lower.   And this is an agency that is responsible for reining in crime in Philly.  It’s a miracle that our crime rate has not burst because the DA’s office has lapsed into such dysfunction.

Our lives are literally at stake.  And yours.

We don’t need a washed-up DA who lives like he’s still part of a frat running the top law enforcement agency in this town.  We need a prosecutor who can balance justice with respect that has an ethical backbone.

Seriously.   After next spring is over, don’t tell me you voted for this clown.  All that really tells me is that deep down in your heart of hearts, you are a worthless piece of shit.

Have a nice day.

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Remember that major factory fire in Kensington ages ago?

waiting-in-line

 

Sorry families of victims of the building collpase.  As the families of the two firefighters killed and one seriously injured in the Bucks Hosiery Factory fire in Kensington learned, your civil cases will sit and wallow while the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office decides what to do.

In the Bucks Hosiery case, not much has happened.  The grand jury has been out for ages now and there’s been no movement in any criminal prosecution of Michael Lichtenstein who owned the complex that went up in flames, collapsed and killed two Philadelphia firefighters.

And as the Inquirer reported, Common Pleas court judge Mark Bernstein put most of the civil plaintiffs cases in the Basciano building collapse at 22nd and Market on ice for 9 months while a criminal investigation continues into the collapse.

I’m sensing a pattern here.  We’re still awaiting the outcome of a criminal investigation of  Michael Lichtenstein, well over a year since grand jury testimony was taken.

It’s no secret that state and local government handling of white collar crime cases is poor.  Tom Corbett and Kathleen Kane certainly have had plenty of time and opportunity to investigate the Philadelphia Sheriff while being Pennsylvania’s top prosecutor (an office which tends to avoid investigating corruption occurring within local government bureaucracy).   It should come as no surprise then that the Philadelphia DA’s office hasn’t really put itself out there as the go-to agency to deal with private frauds and more complicated non-violent crime.  Only recently has the DA’s office dabbled in it by  prosecuting notorious deed fraudsters, a pox that has long been known to City Council and only until recently has fallen on deaf ears when victims of deed fraud raised their complaints to the DA’s office.

I wonder if the victims would pretty much prefer that the City just drop its “investigations” and just let the civil process play itself out.   These defendants have well-paid and smarter legal minds working in their defense.  Whatever prosecution the DA’s office does manage to come up with it will probably be doomed once it hits the courtroom, and that only lowers the odds of any of the victims winning their civil cases.

This observer would prefer that DA Seth Williams just give up and let the plaintiff’s lawyers hash it out in civil court.   Richard Basciano is more likely to feel the pain dealing with nine concurrently-running liability suits than he is dealing with the Philly DA.  We’re a City that coddles blightlords, after all.  Why should we expect anything to come out of the machinations of our local government?

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