Philadelphia to fund witness protection with fines on intimidation

    Money would also go to victims of witness intimidation

    A Philadelphia City Council Committee has approved a series of bills designed to fine people involved in witness intimidation. The money would be used to pay for protecting witnesses and compensating targets of intimidation.

    Councilman Curtis Jones says there is too much “street justice” going on in Philadelphia and that is resulting in witness intimidation.

    “Where Uncle Billy goes over because my nephew shot your son and offers them a payment in lieu of prosecution or there’s the plain more nefarious way where they say if kill my dog I’m going to kill your cat, prosecute my friend and we’re going to take out our street justice on you.”

    The bill would include a $2,000 fine for witness intimidation. Maurice Raglin is a crime victim who was shot twice in the head. Even though his attacker is in jail he still fears for his life.

    “If the guy who got convicted had the resources, a couple thousand dollars, I wouldn’t be surprised somebody would come at me and take my life just for the money.”

    If approved by the full council, the charter change necessary for the witness intimidation will be put on the November ballot.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.