Two top leaders in Braddock are responding to criticism surrounding a police response at the home of a former mayor.
Channel 11 brought you the story earlier this week. Former Mayor Chardae Jones was in her home on Corey Avenue Sunday morning when someone was spotted rummaging through vehicles. Her boyfriend attempted to scare the thief off, and ultimately a series of shots were fired into the house, causing significant damage but no injuries.
Jones told Channel 11 that she was disappointed in the police response, claiming it took an officer nearly a half hour to arrive.
On Friday, Police Chief Brian Bradford disputed that, claiming an officer was twice dispatched to the area and arrived much sooner. The first 911 call, he claimed, came in at 5:58 a.m.
“We were there by 6:07 in the morning,” he said. “Even when the second call was dispatched, it was dispatched at 6:13 and we pulled up at 6:20, and the officer didn’t clear the call until 6:49 in the morning.”
Jones told us that police did not take notes or photographs, and did not call in county police.
We asked Bradford about that, and he claimed that the crime scene was compromised when Braddock police arrived.
“The victim had pulled some of the evidence out of the walls, which... has put us in a dilemma because we no longer have viable evidence to send to the crime lab,” the chief said.
On Monday, Jones showed Channel 11 spent shell casings that she found outside, claiming that police had not managed to locate them.
Bradford claimed that the casings were later collected, and he does intend to send them, along with the recovered bullets, to the crime lab. As of Friday, no suspects had been identified and no arrests had been made.
“Why are you going around, touching the evidence? Why not let the cops do the job that they’re supposed to do? You’re doing unnecessary things, and messing it up... and making us look bad at the same time,” said Braddock Council President Dominique Davis-Sanders, who informed Channel 11 that Jones was elected to council during Tuesday’s election.
He believes that her criticism of the police response is politically motivated and a public push for regionalization.
“That’s one of her main things,” Davis-Sanders said. “Everyone up here voted against regionalization but her mother, her mother is on council currently now.”
In recent years, council decided to pull out of a discussion to join a regional force. Davis-Sanders told Channel 11 that Braddock was being asked to pay too much at the time.
“It just didn’t make sense,” he said, noting that the borough’s force is now fully staffed.
“We have enough officers, we are well-equipped, we have officers with experience that are here,” Bradford said. “We know how to handle calls.”
Channel 11 reached out to Jones for a response. She sent us the following statement:
To receive a call from the news saying that the chief wanted to explain their side of the story makes it more divisive than anything. And to hear that our council president turned this into something political breaks my heart because before I am a leader in the community I’m a taxpaying resident who cares about everyone’s safety. I waited before calling the news because multiple people reached out and asked, what if they make this about politics? This isn’t about politics it’s about human life.
So many things happened that morning that went wrong. The shells that weren’t initially recovered sat for over 24 hours and the police officer’s claim that she didn’t see them may be correct as they were right by her car and we’re all humans. After letting them sit for a little over a day they were most likely already contaminated as we get a lot of traffic and there are a lot of kids over this side of Corey playing on a daily basis. That morning there were no photos taken, and there’s still a bullet in my ceiling, in my honest opinion I don’t think the police would’ve come back if I hadn’t made the Facebook post as the county was never called. My parents shouldn’t have been allowed to show up and walk through said crime scene as even they made it before the police did. It didn’t feel like a police call at all but it indeed was an active scene that morning of 11/5. There was nothing ever written down and it’s amazing that the police chief has time to talk to the news but it took 3 days for an officer to come to my house to speak with me after I called the borough numerous times. Not only did the officer show up three days later but showed up to yell at me for picking up the shells that sat for quite some time and to argue about response time. “I don’t do my job half-a**,” is not how I want to be greeted by a cop after my house is shot 7 times. It got to the point where my neighbor across the street texted me on Wednesday while she was yelling to say, “Did the police come three days later to yell at you.” That’s not quality policing.
No one asks for things like this to happen and to sit here and argue about response times and how great our police department is. It feels like the police department is missing all of the points and the main point is that someone dropped the ball. At this point, it feels like they’re trying to convince themselves. It was a traumatic experience that I hope no one has to go through and then be blamed for speaking out about the quality of policing they felt that they received. Instead of saying, “we did this or we did that,” they should be questioning, “how can we do better?”
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