A decision made by Pennsylvania State Police in 2012 has had major implications for understanding racial bias during trooper stops. Spotlight PA is now shedding a light on the move the agency never publicly announced. Meanwhile, federal authorities are investigating a Philadelphia City Councilman and taxpayers are paying his legal bills ... for now.

Spotlight PA has learned that the Pennsylvania State Police quietly stopped collecting data on the race of drivers pulled over by troopers, making it far more difficult to detect systemic bias.

The change, made in 2012, was never publicly announced. The agency is one of only 11 nationwide — and by far the largest — that does not collect race data during stops.

A spokesperson for the State Police says the data was no longer collected because studies found no evidence of racial profiling during stops. When Spotlight PA presented the results of its nationwide survey, State Police officials said the agency would reverse course.

The agency has received more than 50 complaints of racial profiling since 2014 and internal investigations determined that only a couple were founded. Troopers were cleared in all complaints filed last year.

An FBI investigation into Philadelphia Councilman Kenyatta Johnson’s dealings is pretty wide ranging, according to sources. The probe has examined his handling of city owned land sales, his wife’s work as an educational and political consultant, and his connection to a charter-school operator whose executives were implicated in a federal probe.

In the meanwhile, Philly taxpayers are paying Johnson’s legal bills tied to the matter. The city has hired an attorney at the rate of up to $225 per hour to assist the councilman. If Johnson is indicted, the city will no longer pay.

Johnson’s representation says they have reviewed the evidence related to the investigation and are confident that he’s done nothing “improper, much less illegal.”

Northeast Philadelphia has long been seen as a place apart from much of Philadelphia — a suburban-like middle-class American dreamscape. But poverty has become an unwanted feature of the region over the last generation.

An Inquirer analysis of U.S. Census figures show that the number of those living in poverty in the Northeast has expanded, at times by astonishing amounts, within 27 years. For instance, Mayfair saw a 420% jump in residents living in poverty between 1990 and 2017.

Reporter Alfred Lubrano examines the shift and the factors that seem to be causing it.

What you need to know today

Through Your Eyes | #OurPhilly

Try not to stair at this amazing photo all day long. I dare you. Thanks for sharing, @cece.daniel_.

Tag your Instagram posts or tweets with #OurPhilly and we’ll pick our favorite each day to feature in this newsletter and give you a shout out!

That’s Interesting


Trump Climate!
Signe Wilkinson
Trump Climate!

“Digital harassment is real. I’ve experienced more than my share of it but nothing like what Fehlinger has gone through. Studies show that female journalists are harassed way more than their male counterparts. But the trolls won’t have Fehlinger to nitpick anymore.” — columnist Jenice Armstrong on the unfair criticism faced by former TV meteorologist Katie Fehlinger.

  • Pro/Con: Should the Supreme Court overturn the decision to legalize abortion in Roe v. Wade? Our opinion team gathers takes from people on both sides of the argument.
  • New Jersey Conservation Foundation executive director Michele Byers writes that a court ruling to block a proposed gas pipeline is a major victory for New Jersey taxpayers who have invested billions in preserving open land for future generations.

What we’re reading

  • The Houston Chronicle shares the heartwarming story of Dexter: The only dog on staff at a local children’s hospital who gave a young boy an experience he never imagined he’d have.
  • Temple football is off to a hot start this season. In a piece for Philadelphia magazine, one writer argues that the time to move forward with an on-campus stadium has arrived.
  • There was once a Golden Age for football programs at historically black colleges and universities in America — but integration brought it to an end. The Ringer examines whether or not there is any chance that those programs could rise to prominence again.
Robert Perry (right) and Christian Dalzell inside the new event space and coworking space at 514 South St. Dalzell teamed up with Perry, whose Tattooed Mom tavern was the inspiration behind the design of the new space.
HEATHER KHALIFA / Staff Photographer
Robert Perry (right) and Christian Dalzell inside the new event space and coworking space at 514 South St. Dalzell teamed up with Perry, whose Tattooed Mom tavern was the inspiration behind the design of the new space.

A Daily Dose of | Edge

Philly’s graffiti-tagged Tattooed Mom bar is known for its edgy vibe, perfect for a night of drinking. But can that same aesthetic get the job done in a co-working space? Philly’s about to find out.