Well, I was wrong. When he was sworn in last month, I predicted that the new Philadelphia District Attorney, Seth Williams, would not charge police officer Frank Tepper with murder. Yesterday, he did:
This morning, Williams said Tepper had been charged on a review of the evidence.
"The public demands that we apply the same standard of justice to every case regardless of the status of the victim or the defendant. And I have imposed that standard in this case," Williams said.
In addition to murder, Tepper is also charged with possession of an instrument of crime and recklessly endangering another person, Williams said.
Williams said that a grand jury indictment wasn't necessary. Good for him. (Also, smart of him to announce this while the city was in the grip of a state of emergency resulting from the snowstorm.) The police union head chief did not criticize the move. Williams must have squared them first.
This is not to say that all is well in Philly. A few of the factors that may have played into this decision: Tepper was off-duty. Tepper was visibly intoxicated. The cop and victim are white. The victim's community made an issue of it. Another similar case, with a black off-duty cop and black victim shot in the back, is in the pipeline. We shall see.