News Briefing

News Briefing

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Complaint against state police dismissed

The citizen’s complaint filed by William M. Granatt against a Pennsylvania State Police officer wrongful arrest on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol, has been dismissed as unfounded after an internal review.

Granatt, a Bala Cynwyd gay man, said Trooper Christopher O’Brien acted with anti-LGBT animus when he arrested him in May 2008, after Granatt allegedly swerved on the Schuylkill Expressway near the Vine Street exit.

Granatt was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, but the charge was withdrawn in July 2008 due to lack of evidence. A traffic ticket for swerving also was dismissed later that summer.

Granatt filed a citizen’s complaint against O’Brien shortly after the incident.

But in a letter from state police officials dated March 10, Granatt was informed that his complaint was dismissed as unfounded. The letter also states that a police videotape of the incident indicates that Granatt appeared “disoriented,” and that O’Brien had probable cause to arrest him.

Granatt, 56, denies acting in a disoriented manner, and told PGN that he would like the tape to be released to the public.

However, Cpl. Linette G. Quinn, a state police spokesperson, said the tape cannot be made publicly available. “All investigations are confidential including evidence,” Quinn told PGN. “The tape is considered evidence.”

Quinn also said there’s no indication that O’Brien acted in a biased manner against Granatt. “If the department would discover a pattern of arrests that deem to be questionable, then a review would be initiated,” Quinn said.

— Tim Cwiek

Final fundraiser for Judge Anders

The LGBT and ally community is invited to the final LGBT fundraising event for openly gay Court of Common Pleas Judge Dan Anders, at 5:30 p.m. May 4 at the home of Stephen Alessi and Tom Smitley, 250 S. 13th St., Apt. 4b, before next month’s Municipal Primary.

Anders became the first openly gay person to be appointed to the bench in the state when Gov. Rendell chose him in 2007 to fill a vacancy. Anders is now vying for a full 10-year term and will face off with 23 other candidates for the seven open positions in the May 19 election.

Two of Anders’ supporters have pledged to match fundraising contributions of up to $5,000 that are made during the event.

To contribute directly to Anders’ campaign, visit or send a check to Friends of Dan Anders, P.O. Box 1105, Philadelphia, PA 19105.

Volunteer group to host open house

City Year Greater Philadelphia, a program that encourages local young people to undertake volunteer opportunities, will host an open house for interested volunteers from 2-7 p.m. May 6 at the organization’s headquarters, 2221 Chestnut St., second floor.

The organization provides one-year, full-time positions for volunteers to tutor and mentor youth throughout the area. Members receive a weekly stipend, health benefits, a cell phone and an academic scholarship of $4,725.

Interested individuals age 17-24 can RSVP to (267) 386-7035 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Walk sheds light on religious tolerance

Individuals from a vast array of faiths will come together in Philadelphia May 3 for the annual Interfaith Walk for Peace and Reconciliation, which this year is centered around the theme “People of Light, People of Hope, People of Courage.”

The walk, now in its sixth year, will leave from the Philadelphia Cathedral, 3723 Chestnut St., at 2 p.m. and return to the church around 5:30 p.m.

The event is organized by area Muslims, Jews, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and secular individuals, all of whom are committed to promoting multi-faith and cross-cultural cooperation. This year’s route will take participants through West Philadelphia, passing by the Philadelphia Masjid and the Millcreek Baptist Church.

A bus will travel along the route for any participants who cannot complete the walk.

Walkers coming from Center City or South Philadelphia are invited to attend a 12:30 p.m. pre-walk gathering at the Aqsa Islamic Society, 1501 Germantown Ave., where a bus will depart for the Philadelphia Cathedral at 1:30 p.m.

For more information about the walk, visit

— Jen Colletta

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