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Philly Detective Charged w/ Perjury; Driving Equity Bill in Effect; Man Shot at Germantown ATM
 
  by: iradioal - Philadelphia, PA
started: 03/04/22 3:06 pm | updated: 03/04/22 3:06 pm
 
A former Philadelphia homicide detective has been charged with using improper interrogation methods to obtain a false murder confession and then lying about it. A grand jury recommended that 51-year-old Detective James Pitts be charged with two counts of perjury and three counts of obstructing the administration of law. Obina Onyiah was investigated for the 2010 murder of Northeast Philadelphia jeweler William Glatz. Onyiah confessed to the crime after being interrogated by Pitts. Onyiah spent 10 years in prison before being exonerated in May 2010. Witnesses described the suspect as "very slight of build" and between 5' 7" or 5' 8". A photogrammetry expert also examined the surveillance footage to determine the height of the suspect. Onyiah is 6' 3" and is too tall to have been the suspect. Pitts joined the force in 1996 and became a detective in 1999. Commissioner Danielle Outlaw has suspended him 30 days with the intent to dismiss.

"The grand jury recommended charges related to the conduct in the interrogation room: punching with a closed fist, poking - or how Mr. Onyiah described it as doinking him in the chest - and grabbing him by the neck and forcing him down between his legs," said Michael Garmisa with the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office.

Philadelphia's new Driving Equity Bill took effect this week. The new bill bans police offers from pulling over motorists for certain 'low-level' offenses like broken taillight/headlight, missing or expired registration/inspection, or license plate visibility problems. Stops for these 'secondary' offenses could also lead police to find more serious offenses such DUI, illegal weapons or drugs, and open warrants. Data shows that Black drivers are pulled over at a much higher rate compared to the population. This bill is meant to prevent police from profiling drivers using these pretext offenses. The Fraternal Order of Police has sued to stop the bill. "This terrible law puts reckless drivers behind the wheel of unsafe vehicles that ultimately puts the general public in danger," said FOP Lodge #5 President John McNesby. "You can't have cars that are unregistered, uninsured, not inspected, no headlights no bumpers - unsafe driving in the city." Officers who observe an offense are supposed to make a record of it and the motorist would get a ticket in the mail. The new law also requires data to be published by the city about all traffic stops including the reason, driver/passenger demographics, and location.

A grandfather was shot and killed in a robbery at a bank ATM in Germantown on Thursday evening, 3/3. It happened around 8:15 p.m. in the vestibule area of a Citizens Bank branch on the 5700 block of Germantown Ave near Chelten Ave. 69-year-old James Watson was inside the vestibule getting cash out of the ATM when he was approached by two suspects. They announced a robbery. One of the men fired two shots, striking the victim in the abdomen and torso area. They then fled. Watson was pronounced dead at the scene. The suspects are still on the loose. Police are looking in to area surveillance and processing the scene for evidence.

 
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