The cops versus the video

You’ve probably heard that journalism is the first draft of history.

The first draft, not the last, and it is often flawed for several reasons. Reporters are rarely eyewitnesses to breaking news events, such as crime. They gather information from witnesses, and from authorities, such as police.

Screen grab shows robber reaching into cash drawer

Reporters might be under deadline pressure, the eyewitness may misspeak (or lie), and cops may pass along unverified information.

There is tension between journalists who want the 411 now, and authorities who would like to double- or triple-check information.

Last week, a robber tried to knock off a pizza restaurant at 15th and Spring Garden, and, according to press reports, it went badly for the thief.

Information released by the police said the robber had reached across the counter to get at the cash register, and was strangling the woman clerk behind the counter.

During the struggle, the woman’s 14-year-old son came out, grabbed a pistol from under the counter, and shot the thief in the face. Bleeding, he fled, and was captured by police following the blood trail.

The incident was captured on the store’s closed-circuit TV, and now, the Inquirer is reporting that the video does not jibe with the police account. 

Oops. And for some reason, while the newspaper describes the video, it does not publish it online where readers can judge for themselves. (6ABC posted the video, stopping at the moment the teenager fired the gun.)

So what happened here?

If the cops viewed the video before releasing information, they were either blind or lying.

I don’t think that was the case.

After initial interviews by police arriving at the crime scene, a knowledgeable police source tells me, detectives then take control of witnesses and evidence, such as video. This can take 24-48 hours to process everything, I was told. 

My guess is the original police statement went with what the teenager and his mother said had happened.

That’s understandable. What is not understandable is why it took the cops so many days to release the corrected information. They have declined to explain.

Meanwhile, the unnamed teenager is a juvenile, and possibly in trouble.

You can use lethal force to protect yourself or others from serious harm. You can’t use lethal force to protect property, generally speaking. This is what the kid seemed to do.

Any good attorney will argue the kid was protecting his mother from potential harm, that the robber could have lashed out and hurt her. 

I’m not Perry Mason, but that sounds good to me.

And I’ll bet it sounds great to Denny Crane (Remember William Shatner on “Boston Legal?”)

The kid was protecting his mother.

Give him a medal.

7 thoughts on “The cops versus the video”

    Where’s Uncle Frank ( Rizzo ) when ya need him ?!? Where’s Mike Chitwood when ya need him ?!? Instead, we have – from woke Portland, P.C. outlaw. No respect here for her or her boss !
    Rizzo woulda busted the thief upside his head with his always present night stick. Chitwood would have started by calling the thief a ‘scumbag’, then hitting him with every possible charge that could be applied.
    I suppose ‘let ’em loose larry’ will come to the aid of the thief. Nothing was stolen and very possibly krasner will bring charges against the store, the mother and obviously, the son .
    You will also notice that I show no respect for those that don’t deserve respect. I will not use capital letters on those chosen few, and I’m certainly not giving acknowledgement to outlaw for being named Police Commissioner. Gee ! Maybe she’ll get promoted up to the big apple !

    1. Tony,
      If you didn’t know Fyi: Mike Chitwood retired to Daytona where his lookalike son Mike is the police chief. He is a chip off the old block. Lucky for Volusia County!

      1. HAPPY FRIDAY !!!
        Actually, I did know that and I receive mail from chief, the younger .
        The ole man was a Rizzo boy ! Go figure.
        enjoy the Christmas Holidays,

  2. Under the intense emotion generated by a robbery, where the thief is IN YOUR FACE and THREATENING BODILY HARM, shooting the perp seems a righteous act — whether the victim or victim’s helper is protecting property or protecting life. Who wants to debate that issue with oneself while the crime is underway?

  3. The Inquirer is sometimes better, but the headline was pure anti-police clickbait. “Video of Spring Garden pizza shop shooting appears to contradict some of the initial account shared by police”. Of course let’s allude that the police lied.

    Honestly, not sure how the laws work for a family owned business in PA with Castle Doctrine, but having a 14 y/o carrying a pistol, and cross draw it from the opposite pocket to shoot someone in the face, is something I’d not expect to be legal. Wild to have a kid armed like that, I could never imagine, and I shot all through my youth.

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