Charges against Vickson Korlewala and Lorpu Korlewala were dropped. When
accountability is demanded at the end of a gun, trust is gone, love is
gone and the threatened wants revenge. That is what we have in
Philadelphia. We have armed police who are afraid of the ease with which
guns are passed around and used on the streets, who want to stop the
frequent murders and accidental killings of young and old click here
Above, Dr Susanna and Vickson Korlewala at African and Caribbean Business Council business forum for ambassadors to the United States of America from Ghana, Botswana, Burkina Faso and Trinidad & Tobago in January 2012.
Below, a week later, at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, far left, the Hon Stanley Straughter, Hon Consul for Guinea and Commissioner of Mayor's Commission for African and Caribbean Affairs, far right, Vickson Korlewala and Dr Susanna.
On April 2nd, 2014, Philadelphians preyed on sick, hard-working, vulnerable. SJ Dodgson MJoTA 2014 v8n1 p0410
Without investigation, without intelligence, without thoughts for the human rights of a genius chemist and his wife, who survived the bloody civil war of Liberia, who worked hard all their lives, whose US Army veteran daughter served in Afghanistan, Philadelphia police decided that Vickson Korlewala and his wife had no right to freedom.
Vickson Korlewala has diabetes and a transplanted kidney, and a company in Liberia that has been funded by the USAID to convert coconut shells into energy. But in Philadelphia on April 2nd, he was just a man whose arrest satisfied the desire to humiliate a black man. Any black man.
An old Jamaican lady complained to police that she had been approached by a man and a woman near 55th and Market Street, and she claimed they told her they were going to give her money. She then claimed they put her in a green car and drove her about 3 miles to a bank near Philadelphia airport.
Shortly after the old lady returned home, she complained to police of being kidnapped and robbed by a man and a woman in a green car.
One of the more stupid of the uniformed Philadelphia police saw a green car sitting outside Vickson Korlewala's house on 55th and Market, discovered the car belonged to a married couple. And because Vickson has a green car and a wife, he was arrested and charged with kidnapping, robbery and a string of other charges. The old lady agreed with police when she saw Vickson that, yep, he kidnapped and robbed her. Was this scared old lady intimidated into going along with police harassment? I don't know.
After the police told every news media in Philadelphia that they had done a great job ridding the streets of a genius chemist with diabetes and a kidney transplant, a robbery victim from February decided to agree with the police that Vickson did it. And that Vickson's wife had driven the getaway car.
I am so lucky I did not park on 55th and Market on April 2nd. I have a green car. I am female, and pale, and I live with an adult son, but that would not have stopped the Philadelphia police from arresting me, or old ladies from agreeing with large policemen with guns that my son and I did it.
Video released from the bank shows a man in a baseball cap.
Whether the man in the baseball cap had anything to do with withdrawing money, or whether the old woman withdrew money: I don't know. I do know this man is not Vickson. The man in the baseball cap looks West African, certainly, but is darker, fatter and a lot taller than Vickson. His head is a different shape, so is his nose and face. They do not look like they are from the same country. Vickson clearly has some ancestry from Ghana and Europe. The man in the baseball cap looks like he has some Northern African ancestry.
I am not convinced that the bank video
had anything to do with the old Jamaican lady. The West African man in
the video may be another victim of Philadelphia police eager to arrest black men.
I am 5'10" tall, maybe 5'11" in boots. Vickson is several inches shorter than me, which is clear from photographs at the top of the page.
The man in the bank video looks well over 6' tall. Look how he towers over a woman in the bank, and dwarfs the seat.
And the old lady: I see a lot of people in the bank video. No-one noticed an old lady being agitated and robbed? No-one called police in the bank? On the video from which I took screen shots below, I hear that the old lady is Jamaican, and that she has a strong loud voice. She did not say anything? She took money out and handed it over? Was she so intimidated by a man in a green car? And how could she not be intimidated by a large policeman with a gun and other weapons strapped to his belt? Has anyone given her a sight test?
And who is Vickson anyway? I first met him at the Wharton School when Wharton faculty gave a seminar on small business and investing in Africa. Vickson had taken their course in 2011 on preparing a business plan, and was well on his way to submitting a business plan for a sustainable energy project in Liberia. A few months later, in Philadelphia City Hall, I heard that his project had been short-listed. And then I heard that he had won the competition! His report from 2013 was uploaded onto his website, it can be downloaded here, click here.
Pictures below. All screen shots from a CBS Philly video from April 2nd, 2014. Left, Mr Vickson Korlewala being arrested for the crime of having a green car and a wife. Right, the police-accused perpetrator of a crime against an old lady, captured in bank surveillance video.