Police Action

Grieving relatives wonder why cops shot their loved ones.

By Kia Gregory
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 5 | Posted Sep. 10, 2003

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With the help of the International People's Democratic Uhuru Movement, a social justice organization, Carney has vowed to tell her son's story.

After Pickens' funeral on Aug. 9, Carney, joined by about 150 people, marched from 52nd and Warrington streets to the 12th Police District headquarters at 65th Street and Woodland Avenue, demanding answers about her son's death.

The group blocked traffic and chanted slogans like, "Killer pigs must go." They held signs that read, "JAIL THE KILLER POLICE," "STOP OPERATION SAFE STREETS" and "JUSTICE FOR EDWARD BOO PICKENS."

The scene was repeated about a week later at 52nd and Warrington streets, where a group of about 40 busted an Operation Safe Streets rally. They then marched to 54th Street and Chester Avenue, chanting, "Hell no--Mayor Street must go."

On Aug. 30 they rallied at a block party at 50th Street and Baltimore Avenue to once again protest Operation Safe Streets and demand justice for Pickens.

"Why should the taxpayers pay money to benefit Safe Streets when the people who are employed to do Safe Streets are killing us?" says Carney. "The mayor needs to address this situation. And if he can't address us, why should he run a city?"

At the Uhuru House on Sunday, some 20 people are gathered in a small room for a "Justice Hearing on Police Brutality." The room is decorated in red, black and green, with posters bearing words like "GENOCIDE," "REVOLUTION" and "POLICE MURDERS."

Several survivors have come to share their testimonies.

There is Allen Overton, the father of 31-year-old Anthony Overton, who Pennsylvania state troopers say committed suicide after a traffic stop. His father believes the troopers shot him.

There is Barbara Vance, whose nephew, Kenneth Griffin, was killed by his parole officers.

Then there's Queen Carney, sitting in a black folding chair, clutching a wrinkled Kleenex.

As the meeting gets underway, Carney fidgets in her purse for her cigarettes, found somewhere amid her asthma inhalers and blood pressure medication.

"I gotta go outside and take a smoke," she says, placing the manila envelope of photographs of Boo on her chair. "I stopped smoking 18 years ago, but ever since that day I haven't been able to stop. I know Boo's looking down on me, frowning, like, 'What are you doing?'"

Welcomed by handclaps, Carney soon takes the podium. Her fiance, Reginald Bard, is at her side, rubbing her shoulder as she talks about Boo, her voice sometimes cracking under the weight of her words.

"On Aug. 3 John Ramirez, an undercover police officer, assassinated my son," says Carney. "I have nothing but contempt for Ramirez. He has left me totally devastated. I am extremely outraged and just sick with sadness.

"I feel like Ramirez tried, convicted and executed my son. He was the judge, the juror and the executor, and he terminated a good life. He murdered my son for absolutely nothing."

Tomorrow at the Kingsessing Recreation Center, Carney will retell her story at a community meeting. And on Monday she plans to join a rally at City Hall to demand justice for her son. For her this would mean seeing Ramirez convicted of first-degree murder.

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Comments 1 - 5 of 5
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1. realisright said... on Nov 16, 2008 at 03:36AM

“Tell me, Kia, before you wrote this story, did you also research the deceased's criminal record or interview all his neighbors or teachers? I am finding it harder and harder to spend time reading any reporter's stories anymore, because I only find out later that there is ALWAYS more information--information that leads to a more truthful representation of the incident or of a person's life and behavior--that the author left out. I would like the media to tell us the whole story, because for so long now, you have only presented one side of stories like this.”

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2. Faheem said... on Jan 20, 2009 at 01:53AM

“Would it be easier for you to accept the killing of yet another black man if someone told you he had a criminal record or perhaps if a neighbor may have reported they caught him selling drugs or beating on his baby mom, maybe that could help you paint a clearer picture of a justifiable murder. Well unfortunately there are none of those circumstances prevalent in this case. DO YOU THINK 150 PLUS PEOPLE WOULD RALLY NOT ONCE, NOT TWICE, BUT THREE TIMES FOR A SOCIAL DEGINERATE? NO! This was a good man, without a criminal record, that got along well with his community, and his behavior was exemplified through good deeds to both friends and family. So if its hard for you to accept that a person could be brutally murdered under the circumstances presented in this article, imagine how it must feel for his family and friends to know how accurate the facts presented are and still be left without him.”

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3. Kenny said... on Oct 3, 2012 at 01:16PM

“You know I never got any resolution to this story, Boo was a friend of mine from the time we were 13 until his demise. I actually attribute him to me never getting in trouble because he was just not into that. I still have no Idea what happened just know I lost a lifelong friend and barber. His mom was right he despised drugs as I do , I believe this is why we clicked so much. unfortunately when Boo was killed I didnt find out until the day of his funeral. I went to his house for a haircut and was told what happend, Had my nephew with me, he was around 9, really didn't understand what was going on just that we would never seen him again. Truly one of the events in my life that still sits wrong with me! From the age of 13 I outgrew many friends but Boo we were still close I still saw him at a minimum every other week! Just want to know what happened that night. I know there are a lot of us with this same question as Boo was a guy with intergrity, he left a lot of friends behind.”

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4. Calvin said... on Feb 6, 2015 at 12:48AM

“Boo the barber was a lot of things such as a compassionate selfless caring individual who made his money the legal way and that was by being the best barber in Southwest Philly hands down. This talk by the police of Boo dealing drugs was ludicrous and furthermore that night of his untimely demise he was leaving his cousin Jermaine's house on Ruby street and was heading home to his own house on Angorra Terrace.Finally to that murderous cop who killed my friend who was like an older brother your day reckoning at the hands of the creator is coming.”

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5. Beir Rzzehd said... on Jul 24, 2015 at 02:20AM

“I knew Boo from the time I was born up util the very day he died. He, my brother Buddah (RIP) and myself were all raised together and till this very day I still mourn this dude. The undercover Philly "po'lice" have a penchant for 'jumpin out' on unsuspecting people like they're stick-up kids, especially in Southwest Philly. Every Philly cop has been under scrutiny ever since my God-brother's murder. Oftentimes I worry of my own safety encountering police. Not only was Boo a man with integrity, he had an aura about him that defined him more like a surrogate big brother to me. His mother and I still correspond today and every time I talk to her, he be heavy in my thoughts. By far, a very good dude he was...............RIP Boo Da Barber [2/3/72-8/3/03]”


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