- - Wednesday, January 16, 2013

PHILADELPHIA — The American Civil Liberties Union alleges that Philadelphia police have a pattern of wrongfully arresting people who videotape officers in public.

The group filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday on behalf of a college student who used his cellphone to document police arresting several teens downtown.

Temple University student Chris Montgomery was charged with disorderly conduct after recording the arrests in 2011. The complaint says police detained him and erased the video from his phone.

ACLU attorney Mary Catherine Roper says the lawsuit seeks to confirm the public’s First Amendment right to record law enforcement officers.

She says it’s the first of several complaints the ACLU plans to file alleging wrongful arrests.

A police spokeswoman says the department doesn’t comment on pending litigation.

NEW YORK

Court upholds geriatric gangster conviction

NEW YORK — A 95-year-old mob boss who authorities say boasted about killing 60 people in a lifetime of crime must serve his eight-year prison sentence after his racketeering conspiracy conviction, a federal appeals court said Wednesday.

John “Sonny” Franzese was sentenced last January after his conviction for extorting Manhattan strip clubs and a Long Island pizzeria while he was underboss of the Colombo crime family.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld his conviction, finding that it resulted from a fair trial and his sentence was proper. The court also upheld the convictions and sentencing of two others in the case.

An FBI agent testified that Franzese bragged about killing 60 people over the years and once contemplated arranging his own son’s death after he became a government cooperator.

Federal prosecutors had sought to imprison him for at least 12 years after calling one of his sons, John Franzese Jr., to testify against him.

Franzese was once a regular at the Copacabana nightclub, where he could be seen with singers Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. He also had a stake in the classic porn film “Deep Throat.”

NEW YORK

Story Continues →