We don’t give our criminals much punishment, but we sure give ’em plenty of publicity. ~Will Rogers
I’ve been a tv news reporter since 1978 and I’d always hoped someone would ask me to help them turn themselves into police. I know that sounds strange, but as a reporter I wanted that experience. Today, it finally happened. It was quite different than I would have expected.
Taaqii Brown was arrested almost a year ago for allegedly shooting and killing a man in an Upper Darby playground. He’s been in Delaware County’s prison waiting for trial. Last night, there was a “mix up“. The D.A. calls it a “clerical error”. Bottom line? They told Taaqii he could leave. That’s what he did.
Apparently they were supposed to release his brother, Tariq, held in the same prison for minor marijuana charges. Meanwhile the first reports that went out said Taaquii had escaped; that he was an “urban terrorist”, “armed and dangerous”.
When I met his mother today she said Taaqii wanted to turn himself in and he wanted us to come with him. She said he ran from police when he was first arrested for murder and she claims “they beat him up.” He didn’t want that to happen again.
His father, Charles Brown, called a good friend at the 35th police district in Philadelphia and arranged a “safe” place for his son to give himself up. They said I could come with them in the car. I took out my flip cam. This is part of the conversation we had on the way to the police station.
Police say Taaqii killed Aaron Kearney but his target was someone else. That may be. I’ll admit, it was hard to see the “alleged killer” in him today.
I saw a 21 year old who was scared. I learned he graduated high school, went to the art institute for a couple years and once had dreams of being a graphic designer. I saw a hard working family trying to support him, love him and get him back to prison safely.
The district attorney says he’ll be charged with escaping because he should have told prison gaurds they were making a mistake. Hmmm. There was definitely a mistake.
Taaqii says eventually “the truth will be revealed”. I guess we’ll see.