The family of Moses Walker, Jr., a police officer who was fatally shot in August, is suing the Philadelphia Board of Probation and Parole claiming that, had the board performed as it should have, Walker may still be alive.
As the Inquirer reports, Walker, a 19-year veteran of the force, was walking to the bus stop after a shift when he was killed during an armed robbery gone awry.
Rafael Jones, the 23-year-old charged with killing Walker, had been released from prison 10 days earlier after serving a full four-year sentence for a gun-related charge. He was supposed to be under house arrest for six months after being paroled, but there was no electric monitoring system put in place, which effectively rendered the punishment meaningless.
In and out of courts and jail since he was 15, Jones continuously violated the terms of his probation, failing to find work, take GED classes, or do community service.
He should have been taken into custody after failing a drug test, according to the judge’s orders, but when his parole officer put in a request for an arrest warrant, superiors denied it.
If the warrant had been approved, Jones would have been arrested days before Walker’s death.
The lawsuit cites wrongful death and civil rights violations and seeks damages and a jury trial. The family claims in the suit that the board intentionally avoids arresting parolees to keep the recidivism numbers low.
Governor Corbett has called for an internal investigation of the board to see if there were any employee or policy errors. Former Governor Rendell actually ordered a review of the board after a similar situation four years ago, which proved to be at least semi-successful at the time.
The obviously failing system could benefit greatly from some major reform, not to mention the people it could help—or save.