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The Post  
Murder Charges in Philly Police Officer Death; Philly Testing Sites; Police Delay Certain Arrests
  by: iradioal - Philadelphia, PA
started: 03/18/20 12:57 am | updated: 03/18/20 12:57 am
Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner announced murder charges against Hassan Elliot in the shooting death of Philadelphia Police Cpl. James O'Connor last Friday, 3/13. Elliot is charged with murder, criminal homicide of a law enforcement officer, seven counts of attempted criminal homicide of a law enforcement murder, and several other related charges. Police Homicide Fugitive Squad and SWAT were at the home on the 1600 block of Bridge Street in Frankford to serve a fugitive warrant on Elliot for a March 2019 murder. Elliot, Khalif Sears, Bilal Mitchell and Sherman Easterling were in a bedroom on the second floor. Shots were fired at police through a closed door. O'Connor was hit and killed in the gunfire. Authorities say that the evidence shows that Elliot fired the fatal shot. He is being held without bail. Sears is also charged with the March 2019 murder and is also being held. Mitchell was charged with intent to distribute crack cocaine. Easterling was sent to state prison on a violation of probation/parole violation. The investigation is ongoing.

Drive-through coronavirus COVID19 testing sites are being built or have been built in several areas around the Philadelphia area. The sites don't actually do the testing, they simply collect your samples (a swab of the mouth) and send it away to the laboratory to complete the test. Results could come back in 24 hours or several days. You must be referred by a doctor to get testing, the sites are not open to the general public to drive up. If you have symptoms (fever, dry cough, respiratory distress), the Health Commissioner recommends you contact your doctor first. Pennsylvania Task Force 1 is in the process of deploying a large testing facility in South Philadelphia outside of Citizens Bank Park. It is not yet operational. Several area health systems have also set up facilities including Penn Medicine (University City and Radnor), Temple, Jefferson Health (Center City and Abington), CHOP. More testing sites will become available soon as they start to appear at retail locations such as Walgreens, CVS, Target, Rite Aid, and Walmart.

UPDATE: Another large testing site will be located in Montgomery County.

The Philadelphia Police announced on Tuesday, 3/17, that officers have been instructed to stop making full arrests for low-level crimes in response to the coronavirus COVID19 outbreak. Individuals will be detained to gather identification and evidence, but they will not be taken into custody and processed back at the detective division. That person will then be released. The officers will then file all the necessary paperwork. If charges are approved, then they will be arrested on a warrant at a later time, presumably after the virus crisis. Crimes that fall under this category include theft, burglary, prostitution, stolen automobiles, vandalism, certain economic crimes, and all narcotics activity. Bench warrants will also not be pursued. However, "If an officer believes that releasing the offender would pose a threat to public safety, the officer will notify a supervisor, who will review the totality of the circumstances and utilize discretion, in the interest of public safety, in determining the appropriate course of action," Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw wrote in the memo to officers.

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