State Sen. Anthony Williams said he wants justice for the black construction worker who was a victim of a racist incident in which a white co-worker allegedly waved a noose in his face .
Paul Solomon, who tearfully testified in front of City Council last week that "his standard of living is diminishing" because of the incident, can't fight for himself, so Williams and other black leaders and elected officials in Philadelphia will try to do it for him.
The group was to hold a news conference at 9 a.m. today in City Hall, demanding an investigation into the Oct. 1 incident, in which a white worker allegedly targeted Solomon at the Comcast construction site.
The group said it will insist that the district attorney's office reconsider its decision not to pursue the case.
Prosecutors decided not to file charges against the white worker for lack of sufficient evidence, a decision that has raised some eyebrows in the black community.
"Why isn't he being prosecuted?" Williams asked in a phone interview yesterday. "Anytime a noose is involved there's sufficient evidence to investigate."
The incident shook up members of Council. Councilman Darrell Clarke introduced legislation in October that bans public displays of hostile symbols.
The bill sailed through committee with little resistance in its first reading and will be voted on after the news conference, said Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown.
She and colleagues W. Wilson Goode Jr. and Jannie Blackwell said they would demonstrate support for Williams' effort by voting "yes" to the bill in Council today.
"The offender has a job someplace else, and the victim is out of work and can't take care of his family," Brown said.
"People need to know that that type of crime is equal to the type of crimes the district attorney should investigate," she said.
Recent noose incidents have sprung up throughout the country, including the much-talked about case in Jena, La., in which a white student reportedly hung a noose on a tree at a high school.
In another case, a black professor at Columbia University found a noose hanging on her office door.
"The books have been weak," said Brown, referring to city laws regarding the displaying of symbols of hate.
"We're going with new penalities in the book to strengthen the victim's case," she said.
Brown said she'll present a measure next month that would "educate business owners about potential punishments for employees" who exhibit unsavory behavior toward members of another race.