From 'Anonymous' to hope: Philly.com’s most-clicked in 2015
As 2015 comes to a close, we take a look back at some of the most-read stories from an eventful year that included a visit from the Pope, a new mayor, and the tragedy of the Amtrak Train 188. Here's what you clicked on and read throughout the year.
As 2015 comes to a close, we take a look back at some of the most-read stories from an eventful year that included a visit from the Pope, a new mayor, and the tragedy of Amtrak Train 188. Here's what you clicked on and read throughout the year.
1. Officers in Vineland fatal arrest named by 'Anonymous': The hacker group Anonymous publicly released the name of two of three officers involved in the arrest of Phillip White, a Vineland man who died while in police custody March 31. White was restrained by police after officers alleged he tried to reach for one of the officers' weapons. White's family, citing witnesses and cell phone video, says officers punched and beat White before he was placed in an ambulance for respiratory distress.
3. Suit over fired Fox anchor's use of 'N-word' gets green light: Former Fox29 anchor Tom Burlington's suit over his use of the N-word was given the go-ahead to be heard in federal court after languishing for four years. Burlington used the epithet while discussing a story about the ceremonial burial of the word by the NAACP. The suit claimed that other staffers used it 100 times, but Burlington was fired after asking, "Does this mean we can finally say the word n-----?" The suit went to trial in June, but a jury rejected it.
4. Thomas Gray lived six days, but his life has lasting impact: Ready for a tearjerker? Sarah and Ross Gray's son, Thomas, was born without part of his brain, dying after only six days on earth. But that has not stopped the Grays from feeling so much pride for their child. The donation of his organs and tissue has dramatically helped scientific reseach. Sarah made it her mission to visit the labs her son has aided. "The way I see it," Sarah Gray said, "our son got into Harvard, Duke, and Penn. He has a job. He is relevant to the world. I only hope my life can be as relevant."
5. Officials: Derailed train was speeding: Three days after the tragic Amtrak Train 188 derailment that would take the lives of eight people, officials announced that train was moving at 106 m.p.h., more than double the speed limit, as it approached a sharp curve at Frankford Junction.
6. Missing Delco teen found dead; recalled as thoughtful, bright, fun-loving: Thirteen-year-old Cayman Naib was found dead in Darby Creek, a few hundred yards from his Newtown Square home, after a nearly week-long search. Officials confirmed that Naib died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Coinciding with National Suicide Prevention Week in September, Cayman's father, Farid, released a video with the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence to warn parents about the dangers of having a gun in the home.
7. Emerging from a tragic, battered childhood, hope in a college future: When Valery Swope was born in 1997, her teenage mother placed her in a plastic bag and left her in an abandoned building. In March of 2015, Swope was accepted to Cabrini College. After a childhood of bouncing around from foster care to relatives to living on the street with men who exploited her, Swope graduated from high school in June and was finally able to start anew.
8. Painter says he included Monica Lewinsky's dress in Bill Clinton portrait: Bucks County portrait artist Nelson Shanks has painted popes and presidents, princesses and Oscar winners. In his portrait of President Bill Clinton, Shanks revealed that he included shades of the scandal that rocked Clinton's presidency. "If you look at the left-hand side of it there's a mantel in the Oval Office and I put a shadow coming into the painting and it does two things. It actually literally represents a shadow from a blue dress that I had on a mannequin, that I had there while I was painting it, but not when he was there. It is also a bit of a metaphor in that it represents a shadow on the office he held, or on him." Shanks passed away in August at the age of 77.
9. More than a foot of snow to fall in Philadelphia region: Bemoaning the unseasonably warm weather? Don't. In January, the National Weather Service warned of a foot of snow in the region. The NWS later downgraded its forecast. The biggest snowfall of the winter didn't come until March.
10. Fallen officer fought to 'the very, very end': Officer Robert Wilson III was at the GameStop on Lehigh Avenue, buying a birthday present for his son, when Ramone Williams and his brother Carlton Hipps came into the store carrying semi-automatic weapons with intention to rob the place. Homicide Capt. James Clark called Wilson a warrior, an "out-and-out hero," who fought his assailants until "the very, very end."