This week, the Philadelphia Sheriff’s Department gave us yet another example of why trusting law enforcement isn’t nearly as easy as it should be.
When a group of young people coming home from football practice at Roxborough High School was shot, one of them fatally, on Sept. 27, it was heartbreaking.
One of the things that everyone seems to be able to agree on as a means of climbing out of the hole of gun violence that the Philadelphia seems to have fallen into is that providing our children with something to do can help. Here was a group of children that had found something to do, but still found themselves beset upon by another group of children — one of the shooters was 14 years old — bent on mayhem.
Over the last few weeks, we’ve found out that one of the shooters was able to buy ammunition despite having a felony on his record because Pennsylvania has gun laws with more holes than Swiss cheese. The 14-year-old shooter was also a tad depressing.
But when it was announced on Thursday that a sheriff’s deputy had somehow come in contact with two of the guns used in the shooting and decided to sell them to an undercover FBI agent instead of, well, booking them into evidence, it added a completely new layer of YUCK! to this tragedy.
The “And you wonder why no one trusts law enforcement” layer.
Samir Ahmad, a five-year veteran of the Philadelphia Sheriff’s Department, was arrested on Oct. 19 for weapons trafficking. He’s accused of selling two Glocks and the ammunition needed to turn them into weapons of mass destruction for $3,500 to an FBI informant in North Philadelphia, the last section of the city that needs more guns.
His connection to the guns in the Roxborough High School case came up when prosecutors were arguing that he be remanded for trial. It wasn’t a part of the indictment.
In a statement issued by the Sheriff Rochelle Bilal’s office, the sheriff says that the gun trafficking was the straw that broke the camel’s back when it comes to Ahmad.
“On October 19, 2022, [Ahmad] was served with a 30-day notice of intent to dismiss for repeated violations of the Philadelphia Sheriff Office directives, policies and procedures,” the statement said. “As always, the Office of the Sheriff will continue to cooperate with local, state, and federal authorities.”
I decided to leave off the part of the statement where former Sheriff Jewel Williams gets thrown under the bus for all intents and purposes. I didn’t think it was necessary.
But here’s the thing. You’ve got a law enforcement officer doing something very illegal. And it’s not like he’s the first one we’ve caught.
From former Minnesota police officer Derek Chauvin, who will be spending a nice chunk of his life in prison for the death of George Floyd to former Philadelphia Police Patrick Heron, who was indicted this week on sexual abuse charges, you’ve got to wonder who is doing the mental health evaluations for our nation’s police departments.
If you’re one of the people charged with enforcing the nation’s laws, it stands to reason that you should be expected to follow them as well. That’s not too much for the citizens of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania or any other state to ask, is it?
Sometimes, it feels like it is.
That said, law enforcement officers shouldn’t be angry or all that surprised when they can’t seem to find witnesses when crime occurs in neighborhoods due to mistrust. When you’re out here selling guns that were involved in the murder of a 14-year-old football player it’s kind of hard to trust you.
Especially when you’re allegedly on the front line.