Family of slain officer sues Parole Board for 'systemic breakdown'
Rafael Jones, the 23-year-old man charged in the killing, was released from prison 10 days earlier. Jones, who served four years in prison on a gun charge, was supposed to be under electronic monitoring as a condition of his release, but the monitoring was never set up. Jones also remained free after he failed a drug screening - despite a judge's order that he be arrested after even one positive test result.
The suit also alleges that Jones was allowed to remain on the streets due to an "unwritten policy" employed by the board to limit probation and parole arrests. It is a tactic that board employees say is employed to create the appearance that the recidivism rates for parole and probation offenders are lower than they actually are, according to the complaint.
"It has been reported that [the board] designates specific days/times during which it will not seek and/or issue arrest warrants," the lawsuit states, citing reports from board employees who have come forward to speak out in the wake of Walker's death.
The suit alleges wrongful death and civil rights violations, and seeks damages and a jury trial. In addition to the board, the suit names: Probation and Parole Board Chairman Michael C. Potteiger; Walker's parole officer, Jose Rodriguez; and Rodriguez's supervisors, Rosa Hernandez and Michelle Rivera.
Sherry Tate, a board spokeswoman, said the board had not seen the lawsuit and had no comment.
If the board had arrested Jones after the failed test, Barrett said Tuesday, Jones would have been taken into custody days before Walker was killed. But when Jones's parole officer requested a warrant for his arrest, he was turned down by his supervisors for reasons that have yet to become clear, Barrett said.
After Walker's murder, the policies of the state board came under fire by politicians, members of the police department and community leaders. Potteiger admitted that parolees are sometimes allowed to go without monitoring for a period of time after release, and announced that the board would conduct an internal investigation into the matter.
I hope that the family's lawsuit is focused on REFORM and not a "jackpot justice" ruling against the state. Pennsylvania and other states are in tight fiscal constraints. The need to make the consequences of these type of incompetent policies needs to be balance with the need to have the state remain fiscally viable.
I would not be surprised if the system was rigged for the purposes of manipulating the recidivism rates. By focusing on their own "performance reviews" the Parole system unwittingly shifted their fortunes upon the willingness of the "Street Pirates" to appreciate his freedom and behave himself after he is allowed to return to his community.
Groups like "Deincarcerate PA" have the propensity to "Put The System On Trial" (Justice Thurgood Marshall Justice). In listening to them it is like reading "The New Jim Crow" where THE SYSTEM MAKES CRIMINAL - all without any hint that they believe that the COMMUNITY which forged the consciousness among its human resources has any culpability in the matter - let alone that individual being able to make competent decisions after a life of molding.
I will carefully watch the interaction between the "Civil Rights Pharisees Of Metro-Philadelphia" and the cause for justice by this family. Since the lawsuit is considered a "Civil Rights Lawsuit" - but, at the periphery, runs counter to the "Prison Planet" forces within the 'Black Racial Services Machine" - this will test the loyalties and priorities of those who claim to want JUSTICE within Philadelphia and beyond.