USA --(Ammoland.com)- Commonwealth and municipal legal authorities have punted and ignored requests to investigate Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey for misdemeanor and felony violations of Pennsylvania’s Uniform Firearms Act, attorney Joshua Prince informed Gun Rights Examiner over the weekend.
“[Ramsey] has openly carried a firearm in the city of Philadelphia but is neither a certified police officer, nor does he have a license to carry firearms,” Prince informed Attorney General Linda L. Kelly in an April 17 letter, providing citations to relevant Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes sections . “Furthermore, he wears a uniform and displays a badge, but is not a certified police officer, in violation of Municipal Police Officers’ Education and Training Program… Accordingly, he is also not entitled to compensation.”
Gun Rights Examiner raised many of these questions in an April 5 column, reminding readers that those who aren’t part of Ramsey’s force receive harsh treatment from his ground troops when lawfully open-carrying firearms, and that Ramsey testified before Congress opposing national right-to-carry reciprocity.
“[I]n a city of the first class, which Philadelphia is classified as, an individual must have a license to carry firearms, or be exempted, to openly carry a firearm,” Prince continued. “I have seen [Ramsey] with a firearm openly displayed on his hip, on numerous occasions, while giving press interviews in Philadelphia.”
“While I acknowledge there are exceptions, including for law enforcement…Ramsey is not a certified law enforcement officer,” Prince informed the attorney general, further reminding her that “[a]ny person hired as a police officer shall be ineligible to receive any salary, compensation or other consideration for the performance of duties as a police officer unless the person has met all of the requirements as established by the commission and has been duly certified as having met those requirements by the commission.”
“While there is now conflicting evidence of whether he has become MPOETC certified, such certification would not absolve him of his past violations of the law nor change the fact that he was not entitled to compensation from 2008 through the date of certification, which must be reimbursed to the Commonwealth,” Prince stated, concluding that a local investigation would be “conflicted…given the working relationship between the DA’s Office and the Philadelphia Police Department, “ and requesting “a formal investigation” to be opened by the state.
“The jurisdiction of the Attorney General to investigate and prosecute criminal activity is limited by state law,” Frank G. Fina, Chief Deputy Attorney General , Criminal Prosecutions Division, told Prince in a May 7 reply on behalf of his boss.
“Any violations of state law in this regard would fall under the authority of the District Attorney,” Fina concluded, washing his hands of the matter.
With the door to a state investigation slammed in his face, Prince took CDAG Fina’s advice and sent a formal investigation request to District Attorney Seth Williams on May 23. To date, almost two months later, he has received no acknowledgement or reply. It appears their being notified that the city’s chief law enforcement officer may have violated firearms and other laws is being met with deliberate indifference on the part of those tasked with prosecution.
In addition to the documented complaints by Philadelphia officials that preemption on firearms laws preclude municipalities from enacting more stringent citizen disarmament edicts, it would also appear the Attorney General’s excuse not to investigate is contradicted by the Commonwealth Attorneys Act, which states in part “The Attorney General shall have the power to prosecute in any county criminal court” when “there is the potential for an actual or apparent conflict of interest on the part of the district attorney or his office,” and “[t]he Attorney General may petition the court having jurisdiction over any criminal proceeding to permit the Attorney General to supersede the district attorney in order to prosecute a criminal action or to institute criminal proceedings.”
Also, Pennsylvania’s Rules of Criminal Procedure require filing a private criminal complaint, further stating “[w]hen the affiant is not a law enforcement officer, the complaint shall be submitted to an attorney for the Commonwealth, who shall approve or disapprove it without unreasonable delay.” By ignoring the petition it would appear DA Williams may actually be attempting to prevent Prince from being able to file for review in the court of common pleas.
Prince has not given up, and tells Gun Rights Examiner he will continue to advance his concerns through the system, including following up with the Attorney General for intervention if the District Attorney continues stonewalling.
“Where the Chief of Police/Chief Law Enforcement Officer for the City of Philadelphia blatantly ignores the laws of the Commonwealth, including requiring the taxpayers to pay him a salary to which he was not entitled, while he continues to allow his officers to detain, arrest and prosecute law-abiding citizens for lawful conduct, such as open carrying in Philadelphia where the individual has valid license to carry firearms, there is an extreme disconnect that requires immediate attention and investigation,” he told Gun Rights Examiner.
“Further compounding this situation is the close relationship between the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, which is obligated to investigate and prosecute criminal activity, and the Philadelphia Police Department. It would appear that District Attorney Williams’ disregard of my letter requesting investigation into these matters and his failure…to respond accurately reflects the conflict in this matter, requiring the Pennsylvania Attorney General to intervene and take control of the investigation,” Prince said. “The citizens of Philadelphia have a right to return of his salary, if he was not MPOETC certified at the time of receipt, and the citizens of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania have a right to see him prosecuted for all criminal acts, including open carrying of a firearm in a city of the first class, if he did not have a valid license to carry firearms at the time and was not MPOETC certified.”
This article originally appeared at Examiner.com.
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About David Codrea:
David Codrea is a long-time gun rights advocate who defiantly challenges the folly of citizen disarmament. He is a field editor for GUNS Magazine, and a blogger at The War on Guns: Notes from the Resistance. Read more at www.DavidCodrea.com.