That's Philadelphia Police Commissioner Sylvester Johnson, and agreement with him is not something I really expected. Sylvester, after all, has a long history of blaming guns, gun owners, and "lax gun laws" for Philadelphia's violent crime problem. An example of that would be his (wildly inaccurate) lament about Pennsylvania's "lax gun laws":
"We have the most lax handgun law in the entire nation."Another example would be his explanation for the double murder perpetrated as part of a recent armored car robbery in Philly:
Johnson blamed the loss of life on the availability of handguns in Philadelphia and around the country.As I said, Sylvester is no friend to the Second Amendment, which makes him no friend to the Bill of Rights, which makes him no friend of liberty, which finally makes him no friend of mine. On what, then, do I agree with him?
His stance against the proposal by an even greater enemy of freedom, Michael Nutter (is that a great name, or what?), who wants to trample the Fourth Amendment, along with the Second.
The city's top law-enforcement officer says Michael Nutter's proposed "stop-and-frisk" policy would be a "disaster."Nutter's advocacy of a "stop and frisk" policy has been discussed before. Of course, some might not refer to such proposals as advocating Fourth Amendment violations--maybe we should think of it as "persons, houses, papers, and effects supervision," lest we be accused of being "Fourth Amendment literalists," right Rob?
Departing Police Commissioner Sylvester M. Johnson said the presumptive mayor's promise to invoke the more aggressive law enforcement strategy would undermine the community rapport that Johnson feels he has developed in six years on the job. He said the next commissioner "is going to have a problem" with discontent - or worse, civil unrest - if that goodwill is undermined.
"What Nutter is saying - this stop-and-frisk is going to be a disaster," Johnson said in an interview with The Inquirer. "What he's saying, too, is that he wants a police commissioner to be harder. Well, harder on what? . . . Do you think locking people up is making a difference?
Nutter, by the way, does seem to agree with Johnson about guns being the cause of Philly's violence.
I should qualify my agreement with Sylvester's objection to the Nutter Plan--he doesn't seem to be talking about it as a Fourth Amendment issue, but as one about the police department's community rapport. I would think there is a legitimate cause for concern there, but to me, the greater issue is the utter unconstitutionality of a "stop and frisk" campaign. I should also point out that Nutter is apparently not alone (see the part about Lawrence G. Sherman, near the end of the post) in supporting suspension of the Fourth Amendment in Philadelphia (also see WoG)
Maybe Philadelphia should stop treating the Constitution as the problem, and do something about its revolving door "justice" system.