Archive for category allentown police department

DA, Allentown police chief stand by officers following melee with students

“I don’t know what’s gotten into these kids, frankly,” Lehigh County District Attorney Jim Martin said at a news conference Tuesday afternoon.

Lehigh County’s district attorney and the chief of Allentown’s police department joined together Tuesday to decry what they said are attacks by local students against police officers.

jim martin, keith morris 11-17-2015From right, Senior Deputy District Attorney Jeff Dimmig, Lehigh County District Attorney Jim Martin and Allentown Police Chief Keith Morris, hold a news conference Tuesday about the recent spate of violence involving local students against police officers. (Sarah Cassi | 

“I’m not happy about the violence,” District Attorney Jim Martin said at the news conference, adding it is concerning to law enforcement in and around the Lehigh Valley. “I don’t know what’s gotten into these kids, frankly.”

RELATED: WATCH: Swarming teens provoke assault on Allentown cop

Calling the involved students “ruffians” and “hooligans,” Martin said they, “purely have no respect for authority.”

The outcry was spurred by the most recent fracas on Friday afternoon, where police allege seven students from the Medical Academy Charter School in Catasauqua tussled with Allentown officers.

Chief Keith Morris said Allentown officers were called at 4:07 p.m. for a large fight in the 500 block of Barner Street.

Officers found a large crowd actively engaged in a fight, Morris said, and when the officers tried to break it up, they were met with resistance.

“The crowd became belligerent and aggressive,” Morris said. “They continually and repeatedly refused to follow orders.”

Seven juveniles, ages 15 to 17, were arrested. Morris said the teens actively resisted arrest, and others in the crowd physically tried to interfere with the arrests by jumping on the officers’ backs.

RELATED: Middle school fights prompt arrests, beefed-up police presence

The teens facing charges including rioting, resisting arrest, hindering apprehension, reckless endangerment, failure to disperse and disorderly conduct. None of the students are in detention.

There are claims that officers used excessive force in the arrests, which Morris and Martin discredited. Specifically, Morris said dash cam video from police cruisers disputes the claims.

“There is no evidence … officers acted inappropriately,” Morris said. “I believe they showed a tremendous amount of restraint.”

In the video, a student claimed an officer tried to handcuff him and Martin said they may show that video at that teen’s adjudication hearing.

“We’re gong to prosecute these kids as vigorously as possible,” Martin said.

WFMZ obtained the video of Friday’s incident from Michael Frassetto, a Medical Academy teacher who earlier this year organized a walkout of Allentown students.


Posted by Michael Frassetto on Monday, November 16, 2015

Prosecutors said Frassetto refused to provide the video to police.

“Which tells you all you need to know about Mr. Frassetto,” Martin said, adding if he could have arrested Frassetto for the September walkout leading to students’ truancy, he would have. “I think the man is a hindrance.”

Martin said the incidents between students and police officers appears to be escalating, and it’s not a situation of kids not knowing the difference between right and wrong.

Allentown Superintendent Russell Mayo stressed Friday’s incident involved Medical Academy students, and that the Allentown School District has no jurisdiction or authority over those students. Mayo said he received calls from parents mistakenly thinking the students involved were from the district.

Recent incidents that have involved Allentown students have ranged from a melee involving at least 100 students after William Allen’s dismissal that injured four officers, to fights at Trexler Middle School causing a lockdown, to a Dieruff student allegedly pushing a teachers down the school’s bleachers and then punching the teacher. 

“We take any of the incidents involving our kids very seriously,” Mayo said.

Mayo noted the school cannot take action on incidents that occur off school property. But for those that do, Mayo said the district’s response is to investigate and take action swiftly.

The superintendent said be believes the recent fights have involved about 5 percent of the district’s students, and they are overshadowing the other 95 percent.

Speaking to parents, Mayo said, “In spite of the recent incidents, their kids are safe.”

Sarah Cassi may be reached at Follow her on Twitter @SarahCassi. Find on Facebook.

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Violent crimes down in Allentown, Easton in 2014, crime stats say

Bethlehem’s violent crimes increased in 2014, according to the report, but the city’s police chief said the city’s overall crime rate decreased.

crime scene tapeStatistics for 2014 show violent crimes dropped in Allentown and Easton, but increased in Bethlehem. Bethlehem’s police chief said the numbers don’t tell the whole story. ( file photo)

Two of the Lehigh Valley’s three cities followed the national trend last year of seeing a drop in the number of violent crimes, according to the Uniform Crime Reporting 2014 data issued by the FBI.

The figures showed violent crime across the country decreased 0.2 percent in 2014, when compared to 2013.

While Allentown and Easton saw a decrease in the total number of murders, robberies, rapes and aggravated assaults, Bethlehem saw a slight increase in such crimes in 2014, the report says.

Bethlehem Police Chief Mark DiLuzio countered that Bethlehem’s part one crimes — which includes the violent crimes plus simple assault, burglary, theft and arson —  decreased last year, and that the city’s overall crime rate dropped .02 percent.

“Numbers only tell part of the story. You still need background to explain some of these numbers,” DiLuzio said.

To wit, Bethlehem’s chief noted that a killing spree that hit Easton and Allentown in July will skew those cities crime statistics for 2015. Prosecutors have said the killings in the cities, and a shooting in Palmer Township, were random.

“You can have one crime spree and it will jack your crime rate up for your entire city,” DiLuzio said. “You have to look at the actual incident.”

Property crime — burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft and arson — was down in the Lehigh Valley’s three largest cities. That also follows the nation-wide trend, where property crimes decreased by 4.3 percent, according to the FBI’s crime statistics.


Bethlehem only had one murder in 2014 — where a city woman threw a knife at her estranged lover during a fight.

The UCR report shows the Christmas City’s violent crime rate — murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault — jumped 15 percent in 2014 compared to the previous year. There were 211 reported violent incidents last year, compared to 183 in 2013.

DiLuzio said the city’s part one crimes actually decreased 7 percent in 2014, compared to 2013.

DiLuzio said the changes made when he took over in department 2014 have helped. That includes increased foot patrols and bike patrols in Bethlehem’s business district and other busy areas of the city.

“(Residents) like seeing the cops on the streets,” he said.

It also includes a street crime unit focusing on incidents like daytime burglaries and store robberies, the chief said.

So far this year, DiLuzio said the city’s crime figures have stayed consistent with 2014. There has been one killing in the city so far in 2015 — a fatal stabbing in a city group home.

DiLuzio has more plans for community policing in Bethlehem, but didn’t want to reveal the details just yet.


Easton also ended 2014 with a lone murder — the death of an Orange, N.J. man shot in the city’s West Ward in December of that year.

And the city’s reported violent crimes also decreased last year, a little more than 18 percent.

Easton Police Chief Carl Scalzo Jr. said the city saw a decrease in homicides, rapes and robberies, and a slight increase in aggravated assault, but no drastic changes.

The city already has more murders this year than in 2014 — the killing of Andrew ‘Beep’ White at the Quality Inn, and the fatal shooting of Kory Ketrow that prosecutors said was part of a killing spree that started in New Jersey and ended in Allentown.

Scalzo also said percentage increases don’t tell the full story. There were two homicides in Easton in 2013, one in 2014, and now two this year — but the report’s percentages will show drastic changes.

“Because the numbers are so small, any variation is a drastic percent difference,” Scalzo said.

And while the city saw a decrease in rapes for 2014, Scalzo said, some sexual assaults can be virtually impossible to prevent.

“Then we have to be reactive, and investigate and solve them, and ultimately bring whoever is responsible to justice,” the chief said.

The department has no specific crimes it is focusing on this year, rather keeping a “fluid” approach and changing to respond to crime patterns and areas of the city that start to become problems, Scalzo said.

But like Bethlehem, the chief said Easton police are highlighting foot patrols in the city, and interaction with residents.


The crime reports for Allentown showed part one crimes were down by more than 10 percent compared to 2013.

Allentown officials lauded the 2014 crime statistics when the city announced the results this past June.

The city ended 2014 with 10 murders, as opposed to 13 in 2013, equaling a 23 percent drop, according to the report. The FBI’s report shows 9 murders.

Rape increased almost 7 percent in 2014 compared to the previous year, and 2014 marked the second highest number of rapes in the city since 2000.

Allentown’s department is currently going through a shakeup, after Chief Joel Fitzgerald announced he is taking a chief position in Fort Worth, Texas. Keith Morris was named the department’s interim chief on Thursday.

Sarah Cassi may be reached at Follow her on Twitter @SarahCassi. Find on Facebook.

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Allentown street singer accused of hitting SUV with cane

James Ochse is accused of hitting a passing SUV with his cane, then yelling obscenities at the driver.

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Teen identifies gunman in fatal Allentown marijuana deal

‘I was in the car the whole time,’ Hasheam Mack-Tamsmore says at guilty plea hearing.

The plan was just to rip off an Allentown man during a marijuana deal on the city’s east side last fall, Hasheam Mack-Tamsmore said Monday.

On the night of Sept. 25, Mack-Tamsmore and a previously unidentified second man pulled guns on Diego Luis Hernandez Rivera and Hector Badillo, and took about one pound of marijuana, cash and a phone, prosecutors said.

But one of the robbers fired his gun and Rivera was fatally shot once in the chest. Until Monday, prosecutors did not know the identify of the second man and weren’t sure who fired the fatal shot.

During his guilty plea to third-degree murder and robbery, 19-year-old Mack-Tamsmore said he was only the driver during the deal, and that the second man, Terrell Neal, was the gunman in the killing.

After the hearing, First Assistant District Attorney Steven Luksa refused to comment if police were looking for Neal, and would only say his office has not issued a warrant for Neal.

Records show a Terrell Neal was arrested Aug. 12 and is in a Philadelphia jail on firearms charges.

Sentencing for Mack-Tamsmore is set for Oct. 13. As part of the deal, his minimum sentence will be capped at 25 years in state prison, and he faces a maximum of 60 years. The teen remains in Lehigh County Jail without bail.

RELATED: Witnesses describe fatal marijuana robbery in East Allentown

Police said Rivera and Mack-Tamsmore were arranging a drug deal the day of the shooting through text messages, with the last contact 11 minutes before the shooting.

Rivera’s stepbrother, Kevin Ortiz, previously testified that he drove Rivera to American Plaza, where a red SUV met them, and then drove to Jay Street with the SUV following behind.

Mack-Tamsmore said he was driving and Neal was in the passenger seat. Both were armed, but Mack-Tamsmore said Neal had an AR-15 rifle that night.

Rivera got out of the car and went into the SUV, while Ortiz stayed in the car. Ortiz testified he was eating and getting ready to make a call when he heard a boom and saw a flash. Ortiz said he got out of the car and ran to hide, and when he looked out he saw Rivera’s body in the street with a gunshot wound.

On Monday, police said Rivera was reaching to get out of the car, when Neal said he thought Rivera was reaching for a gun. The two men got out of the car, and were scuffling over the AR-15 Neal was holding, when Neal fired one shot, Mack-Tamsmore said.

“I was in the car the whole time,” Mack-Tamsmore said.

Luksa said Rivera’s wound was “rapidly fatal” and he was dead by the time police arrived. Luksa said evidence showed it would have been difficult for Mack-Tamsmore to fire the rifle from the driver’s seat and hit Rivera.

Police said they previously showed the teen a photo of Neal, but he did not identify Neal. On Monday, police showed Mack-Tamsmore the same photo, and he confirmed it was Neal.

After the shooting, Neal and Mack-Tamsmore split the marijuana, and the teen said he drove Neal back to Philadelphia.

Police found Rivera’s cellphone near his body, and found the texts between him and “Mack.” Police used the number to track the phone to various stores, and learned a girl — Mack-Tamsmore’s girlfriend — shared the phone with him and was using it to apply for jobs.

Police used cellphone records to identify Mack-Tamsmore and they used the girlfriend’s employment applications to find his address in the 300 bock of North Sixth Street, according to court records.

When police raided his apartment, they found a Colt AR-15 assault rifle with a spent casing stuck in the rifle, dozens of rounds of ammunition, numerous bags of marijuana, packaging material, cash and gloves, police said.

During the guilty plea, Mack-Tamsmore said he met Neal at the Glen Mills Schools in Delaware County. Prosecutors said they are requesting Neal’s records to confirm the information.

Sarah Cassi may be reached at Follow her on Twitter @SarahCassi. Find on Facebook.

Allentown man has child film his sex assault of 5-year-old girl, police say

Adrian Jimenez, 40, is in Lehigh County Jail in lieu of posting $100,000 bail, according to court records.

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Mom reveals where son’s cocaine is hidden, Allentown police say

The mother’s help with police did not keep her from being charged.

When Allentown police raided a city apartment on Friday, the mother of the suspected drug dealer told officers where they could find hidden cocaine, police said.

allentown police carAllentown police said a suspected drug dealer’s mother showed them where to find 75 grams of cocaine. ( file photo)

Luis Armando Cortes-Torres had 75 grams of cocaine at his mother’s apartment, as well as 100 Tramadol pills at his apartment, police said.

The 36-year-old Cortes-Torres is charged in three cases: possession with intent to deliver cocaine, Tramadol (a narcotic prescription drug) and oxycodone; conspiracy; possession of cocaine; and two counts of possession of drug paraphernalia.

Cortes-Torres was sent to Lehigh County Jail in lieu of $175,000 bail.

Irma Torres, his mother, is also charged with possession with intent to deliver cocaine, conspiracy, possession of cocaine and possession of drug paraphernalia. The 54-year-old Torres was released on $20,000 unsecured bail.

MORE: 23 firearms stolen in Hellertown; some sold to drug dealers, police say

Police raided two locations Friday afternoon — Cortes-Torres apartment in the 500 block of North Second Street, and his mother’s apartment in the 600 block of Ridge Avenue.

Officers saw Cortes-Torres leaving his mother’s apartment and stopped him, police said.

Irma Torres told officer’s her son had cocaine in her home, and showed them 75 grams of cocaine hidden behind a cabinet, police said. Officers also found a digital scale; inositol powder, which is commonly used to dilute cocaine; and other paraphernalia, police said.

Officers also found a loaded 9mm Barretta handgun in a upstairs closet, police said.

When officers stopped Cortes-Torres, the found him with $915 in cash, and a pill bottle with oxycodone and Tramadol. In his apartment, officers found 100 Tramadol pills and a digital scale, police said.

Sarah Cassi may be reached at Follow her on Twitter @SarahCassi. Find on Facebook.

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DA’s office investigating Allentown man’s death

The 50-year-old man was pronounced dead Friday morning in St. Luke’s Hospital in Allentown.

The death of an Allentown man is under investigation by the Lehigh County District Attorney and Coroner’s offices.

Lehigh County Coroner's Office The Lehigh County Coroner’s Office said it is investigating the death of a 50-year-old Allentown man. (Courtesy image | For 

Romegio Rosario, 50, of the 700 block of Genesee Street, was pronounced dead Friday morning at St. Luke’s Hospital in the city, the coroner’s office said.

An autopsy is scheduled for Saturday to determine the manner and cause of death, the coroner said.

The coroner’s office did not reveal what led Rosario to be brought to the hospital, or if he had any injuries.

MORE: Body found in Lehigh River was that of 22-year-old

A message left for Assistant Police Chief Keith Morris asking about the man’s death was not immediately returned.

Sarah Cassi may be reached at Follow her on Twitter @SarahCassi. Find on Facebook.

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Mom charged with throwing baby in river was full-time student

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Allentown man admits viewing child porn daily for months, police say

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