Plucky Republican mayoral candidate throws verbal grenades

Philadelphia Republican mayoral candidate Karen Brown Monday charged that the Philadelphia police department is fudging its homicide numbers, making Mayor Michael Nutter appear to be a better crime fighter than he is.

Brown made the charge in an appearance on WHYY’s “Radio Times” with Marty Moss-Coane.

Brown said she doesn’t believe Nutter has cut the city’s murder rate by 20 percent because she doesn’t think the police department tallies homicides accurately.

“It’s the way they code them,” Brown said in an interview after the show. “If you are stabbed 20 times and don’t die on the spot, you’re not coded as a homicide. You’re coded as something else, because you didn’t die on the spot.”

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Brown says if the circumstances of a killing prompt a special investigation, it’s also coded differently and not recorded as a homicide.

Police department spokeswoman Christine O’Brien said Brown has it wrong. She said homicide stats don’t rely on those case codings, and every murder is counted. Brown said she gets her information from city cops.

Largely unknown and underfinanced, Brown is prone to strong, if not always consistent statements.

Asked why she’d become a Republican on Radio Times, she said, “I was always very fiscally conservative, that was the difference between me and most Democrats.”

But four days earlier, when she joined protesters at Occupy Philadelphia, Brown wasn’t talking about cutting taxes.

“I believe in this,” Brown said of the demonstrators’ agenda. “I believe people should stand up and scream and say, ‘You know what, it’s time to take back this city.’ The corporations don’t live here, we do. We need to stop giving them the tax breaks, and make sure our small businesses, our unions, our firefighters, our cops are taken care of.”

Brown will get a prime-time appearance on Channel 10 Oct. 18 after complaining about a televised town hall the station held for Nutter. She doesn’t sound like somebody who expects to lose.

“I think people are looking for a change,” Brown said. “I think I’m going to surprise a lot of people. I think I’m going to be the underdog that nobody counted on.”

Brown said she’s finishing radio and TV commercials which will air on a still undetermined date.

You can hear Brown’s conversation with Marty Moss Coane in the rebroadcast of “Radio Times” Monday at 10 p.m. Or listen online here.

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