Sunday, July 12, 2020

'I Will Try To Make Our District Attorney's Life Miserable'

By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

Terri O'Connor has a message for District Attorney Larry Krasner.

She's speaking out for the first time since her husband, Corporal James O'Connor, was murdered on March 13th. At the time, Corporal O'Connor and his fellow SWAT team members were serving an arrest warrant on an armed and dangerous drug dealer who should have been in jail, if it wasn't for Krasner's permissive policies. 

The officer's widow, a former police dispatcher, gave her speech on  Thursday night at an emotional "Back the Blue" rally held at the FOP lodge, where the guests included Vice President Mike Pence.

During the four long months since her husband was murdered, "I kept my mouth shut and I kept my opinions to myself," Terri O'Connor said. "But I can say for now, I will be the name, the face, the loud voice, whatever it takes. I will try to make our district attorney's life miserable," she said to a standing ovation.

"Someone needs to make him [District Attorney Larry Krasner] pay for the pain he has not only caused my family but is now continuing to do to our extended police family," she said. "I will not go down without a fight."

Terri O'Connor was remarkably composed when she came to the podium. At her side was her son, James Jr., a police officer in the Sixth District, and FOP President John McNesby.

"Hello everyone, for those of you that don't know me, my name is Terri O'Connor," she began before giving a powerful four-minute speech that left an audience in tears. 

"I lost my husband Jim four months ago in the line of duty. He was a member of the Philadelphia Police for 23 years and he served as a corporal in the SWAT unit for the last 15 years. Seventeen weeks ago tonight at around this same time Jim and I were out celebrating my birthday. We had just come back from a fabulous vacation four days prior."

"Life was great," she said. "As empty nesters. we were already preparing for our next vacation a short six weeks later, our 25th wedding anniversary."

"Roughly 12 hours later," she said, breaking into tears, "Jim was gone. He was pronounced dead at 6:09 a.m. Jim was just doing his job. While just doing a job he loved, his life was unfairly taken from him by a criminal who should have never been out on the streets."

"Our world fell apart," she said. "With him being gone nothing seemed right any longer."

Terri O'Connor is right when she says that Hassan Elliott, her husband's accused murderer, should have been in jail.

On Jan. 24, 2018 in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court, Elliott pleaded guilty to a negotiated plea of carrying firearms without a license. The judge sentenced Elliott to 9 to 23 months in prison and three years probation. But on Jan. 24, 2018, Elliott walked out of court a free man because the judge accepted as his prison term the amount of jail time previously served. 

While he was on probation, Elliott was brought before the judge three times for alleged parole violations. But rather than put Elliott in jail for any lengthy time period, where he belonged, the district attorney's office repeatedly gave Elliott one break after another.

On Jan 29, 2019, Elliott was arrested again on a charge of possession of a controlled substance, which amounted to a direct violation of his probation. He could have been thrown in jail for violating his parole, and he would have had to serve another 16 months. But it didn't happen.

On March 27, 2019, Elliott's newest drug case was scheduled for court on its first listing for trial in Philadelphia Municipal Court. But a rookie prosecutor who had only been hired a month before, told the judge that the D.A.'s office was withdrawing the drug charge against Elliott on the grounds of "prosecutorial discretion." And then the D.A.'s office did one last favor for Elliott; they marked his most recent drug case and the charges that were just withdrawn as "limited access," so that the press and public couldn't see it.

To make matters worse, the D.A.'s office also did favors for Bilal Mitchell, a second armed and dangerous drug dealing gang member who was holed up with Elliott in Frankford, when O'Connor and the SWAT team showed up with an arrest warrant; Mitchell was also charged with O'Connor's murder.

The month before O'Connor was killed, the cops arrested Mitchell twice for drug dealing. At the time, Mitchell was on a GPS monitor because he had three open juvenile cases against him, and one previous arrest as an adult. 

But both times Mitchell went to court, he got out of jail on cheap bail, plunking down just $2,500 on Feb. 7th to go free, and only $2,010 on Feb. 20th, the second time he walked out of jail.

If you wonder why the murder rate this year in "Killadelphia" is on a record pace for 400 homicides, look no further than the permissive policies of D.A. Larry Krasner, the alleged criminal justice "reformer" who is directly responsible for the death of Corporal O'Connor. As well as many more tragedies.

The original plans for honoring Corporal O'Connor, who was only 46 when he died, called for a March 19th public viewing at a Northeast Philly funeral home, followed a day later by a Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter & Paul, where thousands of cops were expected to be in attendance. After Mass, there was supposed to be a reception at the FOP lodge.

But thanks to Mayor Jim Kenney's emergency declaration concerning the coronavirus pandemic, the original plans for honoring Corporal O'Connor were scuttled and his funeral was postponed indefinitely while the O'Connor family remained in suspended animation. 

"We waited and waited to try and do a proper funeral," Terri O'Connor said. "Those eight weeks were complete torture. The day came and we did what we were allowed. We honored him as best we could under the insane Covid circumstances."

Here, Terri O'Connor turned her attention to her extended cop family.

"I stress more than you will ever know about the safety of all of our police officers," she said. "The SWAT unit will always hold an extra special place in my heart. I know how bad they're hurting. No one else needs to feel the pain that I do every day."

"I feel that my new job is to support you all in any way I can," she said. "I've learned who truly had my back throughout all of this."

Then, Terri O'Connor took a public swipe at Mayor Kenney, known for his public pandering to protesters, rioters, and looters, and empty rhetoric and outright disrespect when it comes to cops.

This is the same mayor who just gave 756 protesters arrested by the cops during the George Floyd protests and riots a free pass, by announcing that he was dropping all the charges against them.

"It's pretty pathetic that the mayor from the small town of North Wildwood where we spend about six weeks in summer has given our hero more recognition than our own mayor," Terri O'Connor said, to wild applause. 

The mayor of North Wildwood had a bench at 17th and the Boardwalk where O'Connor used to hang with family and friends, dedicated in O'Connor's name. The mayor of North Wildwood also dedicated a lifeguard stand at the same location to O'Connor. Both the bench at the lifeguard stand were painted in police colors and bear a memorial plaque honoring O'Connor.

Meanwhile, back in Philadelphia, "What has happened in our city disgusts me," Terri O'Connor said. "We now live in a city that gives more rights to the criminals than to all the true heroes."

Corporal O'Connor was finally laid to rest on May 8th at Our Lady of Calvary Church. 

"Did I mention I was told only ten people could take part in Jimmy's funeral mass," Terri O'Connor said. "Does anyone know how many protesters were allowed on the parkway during the same so-called pandemic? Unfair isn't the word. It's a total lack of respect for the men and women in blue."

That's life in Jim Kenney's Progressive paradise, where it's anything goes for lawless protesters, rioters, looters and arsonists invading our city. But for law-abiding citizens, it's nothing but masks and more restrictions on the increasingly dangerous streets of Philadelphia.

While Kenney, who just whacked the police budget, and his girlfriend remain safe under 24/7 police protection that the rest of us are paying for.

"Please stay safe," Terri O'Connor told her extended cop family at the FOP. "Please never forget Jim . . . a true hero who gave his life for the city."

6 comments

  1. Black and blue all the way. Stay encouraged Police in America. Keep doing your job the best way you can.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I can't stand the lovely city that held a wonderful place to it residents, I sold my home and will be moving. I will no longer contribute a portion of my taxes to a political administration who totally disregards its honest hardworking citizens. Who believes the elements that contributes to a downfall deserves better treatment than law abiding citizens, who smacks law enforcement in the face and yet demands the same protection that citizens in the city expect. I am disgusted. I wouldn't buy a water within city limits when I move.

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  3. My heart goes out to her and the PPD every word she spoke is very true so very true

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  4. Mrs OConnor. My heart goes out to you and your family. Where is your justice? And I hope Larry Krasner has no peace because nothing can undo the damage he’s caused. I have always felt that policing is one of the hardest jobs in today’s society; and now it seems impossible for any law officer to function safely. Truly a thankless job thanks to our mayor and DA Krasner. I agree with the writer above; I never thought I would leave my home, but I am giving it serious consideration now. I barely recognize my City. God bless you and your family - your sacrifice was too great.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Mrs OConnor. My heart goes out to you and your family. Where is your justice? And I hope Larry Krasner has no peace because nothing can undo the damage he’s caused. I have always felt that policing is one of the hardest jobs in today’s society;
    And now it seems impossible for any law officer to function safely. Truly a thankless job - thanks to our mayor and DA Krasner. I agree with the writer above; I never thought I would leave my home, but I am giving it serious consideration now. I barely recognize my City. God bless you and your family - your sacrifice was too great.

    ReplyDelete

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