It was a month ago today that Terry Bowen finally got a phone call about her son's case.
She was excited — until she heard the news.
Bowen learned from a Daily News reporter that Lynne Abraham, in one of her last acts as district attorney, had decided not to press charges against Chauncey Ellison, the off-duty Philadelphia police sergeant who shot Bowen's unarmed son, Lawrence Allen, in the back on Nov. 17, 2008.
Allen, 20, was left paralyzed from the shooting. He died last Feb. 15, after battling numerous infections and dropping more than half his body weight.
Bowen was infuriated by Abraham's decision, but took heart when Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey vowed that day to decide within two weeks if he would discipline Ellison for possible departmental violations.
The two weeks came and went without any action being taken.
"It's really starting to irk me," Bowen said earlier this week, as her normally soft-spoken voice suddenly rose.
"They're not doing anything, and we don't get any explanations," she said. "We still don't know why they didn't charge [Ellison] in the first place."
Commissioner Ramsey could not be reached for comment.
When reached by phone on Wednesday, Abraham declined to discuss the Ellison case, and defended not publicly explaining her decision to not criminally charge the veteran cop.
"First of all, whatever I said and did, those are decisions that I made when I was district attorney, and I think it's inappropriate to comment about those cases," she said.
"There were a lot of shooting cases in the office which we handled without making an announcement. In some cases I did, but in [Ellison] I didn't."
Abraham held a news conference in December to announce that she wanted a grand jury to determine if charges should be pressed against Frank Tepper, an off-duty cop who fatally shot unarmed William "Billy" Panas Jr. during a neighborhood melee on Nov. 21.
Tepper was fired by Ramsey on Jan. 4. Panas' family plans to rally at City Hall about noon today to call for Tepper's arrest. D.A. Seth Williams is actively reviewing the Tepper and Ellison cases, a spokeswoman said.
"The Panas case had such a tremendous amount of public attention, I thought it was important to talk about [the decision]," Abraham said.
When a reporter noted that the Tepper and Ellison cases shared some glaring similarities — both involved unarmed men who were shot by off-duty cops during personal confrontations that were witnessed by many residents — Abraham demurred.
"Every case stands or falls on its own unique facts and circumstances," she said.
"You can't make a decision because one case appears similar to another. Every case should be considered individually...that's the rule I always followed."
Bowen said that she'll meet next week with members of Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action Network.
She said that members of the civil-rights group will help her plan a rally for her son later this month, perhaps on or near the first anniversary of his death.
"We need all the help we can get," said Allen's father, Lawrence Allen.
"We don't want anything crazy. We don't anyone to get hurt. We just want justice."
Numerous witnesses previously told the Daily News that Ellison was enraged on Nov. 17, 2008 as he searched for a man who'd robbed and punched his 14-year-old son.
He chased a suspect to Renovo Street near 20th, in West Oak Lane, where he saw Allen, who lived on the block, and a number of Allen's friends and relatives. The two exchanged words.
Witnesses said that another off-duty cop, Robin Fortune, loudly encouraged Ellison to take action against Allen until Ellison shot the father of three in the back.
"There were so many people who were there — women, old ladies, young kids — saw what happened," Allen's father said.
"How could you say it's not murder? My son suffered like a wounded animal until he died."
Allen said that he called Abraham's office numerous times after the shooting to see if the case was being worked on, hoping someone in the office would have remembered his aunt, Francis Walker, who once worked on one of Abraham's re-election campaigns.
"When my aunt retired about 10 years ago, Abraham came to her party," Allen said.
"Funny thing is, she met my son, shook his hand. But still she didn't give a damn."