Philly "empty the jails" beneficiary accused in double murder

On Wednesday night of last week, 25-year-old Milan Loncar was out walking his dog in the Brewerytown neighborhood of Philadelphia. It would be the last time he ever left his house. He was shot and killed on the street near his home, allegedly by Josephus Davis. In the immediate aftermath of the killing, Loncar’s family and neighbors had many questions for the city government. Davis was a known criminal with a significant rap sheet who was awaiting trial on the latest crimes of his criminal career. Why was he out on the streets to begin with? The answer should be obvious. For a couple of years now under the current Mayor and his Police Commissioner, Philly has been engaged in an “empty the jails” campaign, a process that’s only been ramped up since they were able to use the pandemic as an excuse. And Josephus Davis was one of the many beneficiaries of that policy. (CBS Philadelphia)

There are new questions about the suspect accused of murdering a man out walking his dog in Brewerytown last week. Those questions include why the gunman, a convicted violent criminal, was allowed out on bail…

City Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson spoke about the case Monday.

“The person that pulled the trigger had priors, he had low bail. People who have priors and they keep getting arrested for gun charge after gun charge, they aren’t being released with low bail,” Johnson said.

Davis is only 20 years old but he’s already run up quite a history of “law enforcement involvement.” He’s been convicted twice of robbery. Last year he was arrested for armed kidnapping, assault, and illegal weapons charges. But he somehow had his bail reduced to a mere pittance and was released from jail last month. Now, only a few weeks later, he’s being charged with one murder and is a suspect in another killing.

I’m not sure if the CBS quote from City Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson is a typo or she really doesn’t understand what’s going on. She’s saying that people who are arrested for “gun charge after gun charge” aren’t being released with low bail. But that was clearly what happened in the case of Davis.

CBS also spoke with a former public defender from Philadelphia who said, “You can’t hold people in custody indefinitely. What happened here is clearly a tragedy, it’s a tragedy for all of us as Philadelphians, however, when we look to cast the blame, it’s difficult to know where this one lies.”

I would argue that it’s actually quite easy to know where the blame lies. First and foremost, it lies with Josephus Davis if it’s proven in court that he pulled the trigger. But that blame is shared by a city government that has been hellbent on emptying the jails and “reforming” the bail system so that even proven dangerous criminals like Davis are sent through a revolving door and back out onto the streets every time they commit yet another crime. I would have liked to ask Milan Loncar for his view on the subject, but he’s permanently unavailable for comment.

Meanwhile, Philadelphia is seeing murder rates not experienced since the early 90s.

In 2020, the homicide rate in Philadelphia hit a level not seen since the early 1990s. Now, Philadelphians are hoping to curb gun violence in 2021, in their own ways.

People who live in the city and are fed up with the gun violence aren’t wasting any time to ensure that 2021 is not a repeat of 2020’s near-record level of homicides.

“We had 499 homicides last year, right now we’re approaching 20,” said activist Jamal Johnson.

Yes, residents are fed up and demanding action. Unfortunately, their solutions aren’t doing much to help. One person has gone on a hunger strike until Mayor Jim Kenney declares gun violence an “emergency condition” in Philadelphia. Another person started a GoFundMe page to raise money for gun buy-back programs. It’s good to see the citizens crying out for help, but neither of those things is going to solve the problem.

The city needs more cops, not less. And the Mayor and his Police Commissioner need to put aside this progressive push for ending bail and emptying the jails. When you don’t treat dangerous criminals in a serious fashion they stop taking you seriously. The results in Philadelphia speak for themselves. Mayor Kenney and Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw are responsible for these policies and the staggering number of killings being seen in Philly need to be placed firmly at their doorstep.