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Special Event

Philadelphia NAACP Holds News Conference on Thomas Jones Arrest

Aired July 14, 2000 - 1:10 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: We want to take you live now to Philadelphia. We just told, as we reported as well yesterday, about the violent arrest of Thomas Jones in Philadelphia yesterday, and questions about whether police used excessive force.

The NAACP and his family are holding a news conference right now. And this is Thomas Jones' nephew. We are going to listen in for a few minutes.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

JERRY MONDESIER, PRESIDENT, NAACP PHILADELPHIA: Forgive me for not introducing Rev. Carol Fachet (ph), first vice president of Philadelphia branch NAACP, and the eminent pastor of Mount Moriah Baptist Church in South Philly. Open the floor to you fellows and ladies.

QUESTION: Talk about the claim you think you would against the city in terms of a civil right claim?

MONDESIER: Well, if you're familiar with how these things generally work, the criminal matter will proceed on one track, while we begin to gather evidence as to his civil rights being denied during the beating. The physical injuries that were sustained that once he is out of the hospital we will get a medical report, we will get a description from his doctors, and we will bring a claim against unjust, excessive police abuse and force in this case.

So it is going to take several months before we begin to put together the proper paperwork to file the case. But I would say to you by sometime in early fall we should have the basic structure of the lawsuit ready to be filed.

The city, generally, reacts very negatively to these kinds of suits. So we expect a protracted battle on them. So I can't say to you how long it is going to take before we reach a settlement conference. But I guarantee you, they will pay.

QUESTION: Have you contacted any of the more prominent civil rights (OFF-MIKE)

MONDESIER: Well, in the sense that Kweisi Mfume, we have talked to his office about it. We have talked to Jesse Jackson's office about it. And they have pledged their support. But if you're familiar with what this organization represents in our past history, we will take their advice, but we got the arsenal to deal with it. We have an ongoing suit against the police department right now, and it is in federal court. As you know, a few weeks ago I sued the governor over felony disenfranchisement. So we got good lawyers in Philadelphia, plenty of them.

QUESTION: Did you mention the legal action when you met Commissioner Timoney and Mayor Street?

MONDESIER: Didn't have to. I'm suing him right now. So he's knows we're very capable of doing that. I didn't want that initial meeting to become, you know, antagonistic from that flavor.

QUESTION: Was that meeting today positive, what came out of it?

MONDESIER: Well, I would say too, it was positive in the sense that they are briefing a wider group now of elected officials, community leaders, and a larger group of religious leaders about the status of the investigation. As you know, it was two clergymen and myself yesterday had him for over an hour. Today he spent about 45 minutes with about 30 members of the community at large, both black and white and Asian.

ALLEN: ... president of the NAACP in Philadelphia assuring the community that his group plans to continue their investigation into the arrest of Thomas Jones. His nephew sitting there at news conference said that the NAACP is helping Jones acquire a lawyer. Jones' capture coming after two car chases and a shootout. It is subject of numerous investigations, including a civil right probe by the Justice Department.

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