Philadelphia Police Commissioner Outlaw Still Not Ready for Prime Time

“So we’ve got to get our heads together, we need to be aligned, and we need to all move together with the same sense of urgency around what we are experiencing in our communities as residents here.”

This is what you get from someone who spent their police career across multiple agencies, dodging police work, pampering herself, constantly whining, and talking gibberish.

In November 1996, Danielle Bowman won $40,000 on the Wheel of Fortune game show. At the time, she was a sociology major at the University of San Francisco.

The Oakland Police Department found these credentials compelling, so in December 1997, she entered the police academy as Police Cadet Danielle Ashford.

She completed the police academy in December 1998. Her résumé showed a break-in service from this period until September 1999, when she began as a “Police Officer.” So, a year after Oakland’s training and recruit salary investment, she returned the favor by taking maternity leave.

Veteran officers tell us that it takes a police officer about five years to learn the job and become comfortable. Outlaw didn’t get the experience she needed. She didn’t learn the job. Her supervisors and peers were so enamored by her game show performance and her cute perky demeanor that they quickly took her off the street and made her community services officer. Soon she was in a back office putting together treat bags for children for Christmas parties. Meanwhile, her peers were out on the street responding to calls, dealing with the public at their worst moment, and constantly exposed to danger.

In 2001, game show veteran/community services officer Danielle Ashford was the department’s right choice for a media story on their officers. Photos depict her “on patrol,” processing evidence on the street and using a police radio handset. All on daywork, of course.

In March 2003, while still an inexperienced rookie but experienced on TV network game shows, she became a Public Information Officer. Ironically, one of her first spokesperson duties was to report on police use of tear gas.

North County Blade Citizen April 8, 2004
Oakland Police Chief Richard Word talks about the upcoming Usher concert with Officer Danielle Ashford in the chief’s office at Oakland Police Department in Oakland, Calif., on Thursday, July 8, 2004.

In 2004, while other officers with a similar amount of time on the job began to get a steady patrol shift assignment, Officer Danielle Ashford was enjoying full access to Oakland Police Chief Richard Word with meetings with him in his office.

By November 2005, she divorced her Oakland police sergeant husband, retook her original name “Danielle Bowman,” and in January 2006 was promoted to Police Sergeant. The East Bay Times reported that she was a “six-year veteran who was the department’s public information officer. A graduate of Holy Names High School and a former police Explorer Scout, Bowman is the only woman to finish first in the sergeant’s promotional process.”

We have heard about this phenomenon before: officers close to the police chief with phenomenal scores on promotional exams. During her four years as a sergeant, she worked in patrol for a minute and then transferred to Internal Affairs. She then became lieutenant after another minute in patrol. She would essentially remain in internal affairs for the rest of her Oakland police career. See for yourself in her résumé

Danielle Outlaw did not have a well-rounded police career. It is a disgrace for someone that never worked patrol to Monday morning quarterback – from a desk – other police officers that spent years in patrol. Police officers working the street will inevitably encounter complaints because people don’t like to be stopped, investigated, and arrested – whether these actions by police are justified or not.

Records division. While we vehemently oppose the negative attitude toward women shown in this video, the clip addresses legitimate concerns when a police officer, regardless of gender, that lacks street time, wants to lead others in dangerous police work.

It was wrong to coddle Danielle in the formative years of her police career. Coddling hurt both Outlaw and the public by setting both up for failure. Coddling encouraged Outlaw to become (or stay) delusional, egotistical, and whiny. She enjoyed a lifestyle that was geared more for administrative work instead of being a cop. Even today, she has only known police work as Monday to Friday day work. Ask her to do anything beyond that, and she feels drained and irritated.

Outlaw is a beneficiary of identity politics. Portland is 6% black, 77% white, and 8% Asian. She can thank the liberal whites for giving her the police chief job. Yes, she got the job because she is a black female.

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler introduces Police Chief Danielle Outlaw, Aug. 10, 2017.

A black female police chief is a sought-out and prized commodity. They are the showpieces of progressive white mayors. To sweeten the deal, Mayor Wheeler had to have Council pass an “emergency ordinance that would go into effect immediately to serve as incentive for the newly selected police chief, Danielle Outlaw of Oakland, to find a place to live in Portland.” The emergency ordinance gave rookie chief Outlaw a 5% raise and a $225,750 annual salary.

Unfortunately, she did not perform well in her first several months. The Oregonian newspaper expressed concerns that Outlaw was not ready for her new job.

Outlaw’s priorities and professional judgment were screwed up. The Op-Ed piece pointed out that Outlaw was too busy showing off herself at an out-of-town police conference to appear before the City Commissioners to stand up her request for an assistant. Upon arrival in Portland, Outlaw requested they hire a $186,000 deputy chief for her as her “Number Two.” She then went off to Salem, Oregon, to get her state police certification. This made a bad first impression. Sources out there tell us she should have waited to see what she could do with the resources and leadership she already had within the department. This would have tapped her management skills.

Outlaw thought the police conference, a social networking event, was more important. Additionally, her request raised concerns that this would mean funds would be diverted from hiring new officers. When it came time, The Human Resource Director, unprepared because Outlaw’s request was not his, had to stand it up for her in front of the Council. Outlaw was out of town.

Then, to make matters worse, Outlaw made no comment when her officers were involved in a shooting with an unarmed Black male. She didn’t realize it was her responsibility to speak as the top representative of her agency. The Oregonian noted, “Outlaw showed a disengagement that won’t serve her or Portland well.”

In January 2018 – three months after she took the job – she held a gala event for her coronation at the city taxpayer’s expense. The Oregonian reported:

“Portland Police Chief Danielle Outlaw said Monday that she deliberately chose the Oregon Historical Society and its “Racing for Change, Oregon’s Civil Rights Years” exhibit as the setting for her swearing-in ceremony to “address the elephant in the room.”

She described an era of early policing in the nation’s history when sheriffs enforced segregation in the South and officers received political payoffs to turn a blind eye to a politician’s illegal prostitution or drinking.

“Here in Portland, the issue of racial inequality and displacement still lurks in the undercurrent of a very progressive city,” Outlaw said moments after she was formally sworn in as the city’s first African American female chief. The ceremony comes after Outlaw has been in the job for three and a half months.”

Outlaw already faced criticism as being too young at age 41 and inexperienced to serve as chief of a metropolitan police force. Her reaction was to allege that her “male counterparts in major cities” did not receive such criticism.

She wanted to use her swearing-in ceremony to grandstand. She likes making speeches. But she refused to accept the inconveniences that come with being a police chief, a public figure. Back in Oakland, she could play Deputy Chief during the day and retreat to her cozy home in the evening to cook dinner over a glass of wine. But as Portland Police Chief, she lost all anonymity and privacy. In December 2017, an Oregon judge granted Outlaw a stalking protective order against a man known to follow police officers and post videos of the encounters online. Speaking from the witness stand, Outlaw said the man followed and filmed her while she was on duty walking to her office. She said the man also followed her to her car at a downtown grocery store while she was off-duty with a family member.

Jim Redden of The Portland Tribune warned readers about Outlaw as she was headed out to Philly, “Though tasked with being an ambassador to the public in a way that other chiefs had not, Outlaw prized her privacy, telling reporters never to call her personal number. At times she seemed to visibly chafe at the politics swirling around policing in Portland, as well the scrutiny — and even alleged stalking — that came with her job. In August 2018, she told conservative radio talk show host Lars Larson that protesters’ complaints about police crowd control were like whining and complaining after someone lost a fight.”

In August 2018, under the guidance of Mayor Wheeler, she sought limitations on protest demonstrators. Outlaw wanted to cage them in a “free speech zone.” She authorized flash bangs to disperse a crowd of leftist counter-protesters opposing Patriot Prayer on August 4th. This resulted in a 52-year-old woman getting chemical burns. Additionally, a young man hit directly by a flash bang was rushed to the hospital with a brain hemorrhage. She quickly fell out of favor.

Just before this, in April 2018, she spoke at a TEDx conference, ironically, about “Humanity in Policing.” She came on stage wearing semi-casual clothes and high-top sneakers. With a contrived Southern-style folksy tone and repeated cutesy twists of the mouth, she outed all her fixations; “Yes, I’m a woman. Yes, I’m forty-one-and-a-half years old. Yes, I’m African-American. Yes, I’m a chief of a major metropolitan city. Yes, I’m from Oakland, California. And yes, my last name is Outlaw. But I’m not here to talk about that.” She then talked down to her audience like a schoolmarm for fifteen minutes, but it seemed like an hour. However, no mention of what was to come: tear gas, flash bangs, and rubber bullets.

“We’re just talkin’

Contrast her appearance with Charles Ramsey, who appeared on TEDx in 2015. Ramsey appeared in full uniform, commanded respect, and gave respect. He spoke professionally and was relaxed without being arrogant: Mending broken trust: Police and the communities they serve | Charles Ramsey | TEDxPhiladelphia – YouTube

Despite Outlaw’s immaturity and heavy-handed tactics, Portland Mayor Wheeler was stuck with her in a three-year contract. However, at the two-year mark, Philadelphia Mayor Kenney came to the rescue and offered Outlaw the police commissioner position. Outlaw gave Wheeler notice that she was taking the Philly job, and she requested to stay three weeks until the end of the year. Wheeler said no and replaced her in less than an hour.

Overall, the two prior Philadelphia police commissioners, who happened to be Black, had done well. Richard Ross left after allegations of failing to respond to a subordinate’s sexual harassment complaint. Before this, however, he came through the ranks, was popular with the officers, and placed the right commanders in the right positions. Above all, he was considered fair. Before Ross, Charles Ramsey was the police commissioner. Ramsey had 45 years of law enforcement experience in Chicago and Washington, D.C. Using intelligence-led policing and Police Service Area community policing strategies, he reduced violent crime and homicides by a whopping 40 to 50%.

But Kenney had foolishly painted himself in the corner when he limited himself to a Black female to replace Ross. Kenney was under pressure from his political bedfellow Rodney Muhammad of the Philadelphia Chapter NAACP, the Black Elite, local black politicians, Philadelphia Tribune, and WURD’s Solomon Jones.

Outlaw was the last available choice to fulfill Mayor Kenney’s political promise. Other Black female police leaders in other major cities had turned him down. A big disappointment was not getting Dallas Police Chief U. Renee Hall as we believe she would have been a perfect fit.

Renee Hall. She should have been the Philadelphia Police Commissioner. And maybe she will.

Hall came from Detroit, where she served as Deputy Chief. In this top executive position, Hall established and oversaw a neighborhood policing program that created a relationship between minority communities and officers. According to a city of Dallas statement, Detroit saw a 40-year low in homicides and “double-digit reductions in violent crime or three consecutive years” during her tenure.

Black women are only now emerging as top law enforcement executives despite progress over recent years, but the pool remains small. Recruiting Outlaw was scraping the bottom of the barrel. Retired LAPD Officer Cheryl Dorsey discussed how Danielle Outlaw struggled in Portland and was unprepared to take on Philadelphia. A must-see. Set-up for failure? Philly’s 1st Black Female Commissioner – YouTube

In December 2019, Outlaw made her appearance at Philadelphia City Council. She came across as cocky, disrespectful, and unprofessional with her hair down. She gave much the same spiel she used in Portland but added that she would be a “conduit” against racism and sexism.

Outlaw’s snotty debut in Philadelphia City Council

A month before, Outlaw gave an unguarded “carpool” interview for Portland’s KGW News. She whined throughout the interview about people in her space and having to be on duty all the time as police chief. “It sucks, I have to carry two phones with me everywhere I go.” She denied that she got the job because she was the first African-American police chief and thought she got it because of her qualifications. She then made a dig at white people, “Folks that don’t look like me get the benefit of the doubt.”

An adolescent-like Outlaw confides to a TV reporter that she doesn’t get enough sleep and has butterfly and treble cleft tattoos.

There was no hint that Philly would offer her a position with much greater responsibility, scrutiny, and exposure in the interview. Whatever inconveniences she experienced in Portland would be significantly magnified. We can only guess that Outlaw casually took the job without considering it first.

Outlaw had three months to prepare herself as the police commissioner of the nation’s fourth-largest police department. She should used this opportunity to learn everything about the City, its demographics, its geography, its stakeholders, crime patterns, the Police Department’s staff, Departmental policies, and so on. As Cheryl Dorsey said, “to one who is given much, much is expected.” Instead, Outlaw wasted this valuable time to focus solely on herself, friends and family. She had accepted a $285,000/year job with the responsibility of protecting the lives of 1.5 million Philadelphians and its visitors. She enjoys the second-highest salary of a City of Philadelphia employee. She thought she was going to wine and dine out there for three months and then come here and “wing it.”

Danielle Outlaw and her handler Rochelle Bilal

The only “preparing” she did was to meet up with Rochelle Bilal when she got to town. Bilal was waiting for Outlaw. Bilal, who has an agenda, talked her up about “all the racism in the police department” and told her to demote Joe Sullivan as deputy commissioner. Within months, that would prove to be an egregious mistake as Sullivan was a “tactical genius” as her predecessor Ross had called him. Sullivan was the most experienced and successful critical incident commander the Department had.  On January 31st – ten days before Outlaw started her new job – Sullivan retired because he said he “wasn’t needed” anymore.

We think it would have been more helpful if she had sought out former police commissioner Charles Ramsey for advice on things like crime-fighting strategies and reducing homicides. Rochelle Bilal’s influence distracted Outlaw from these priorities and reinforced Outlaw’s racial and gender bias.

After three months of relaxation on the West Coast, Outlaw starts her new job as commissioner of the nation’s fourth-largest police department. Outlaw is the second-highest City employee. The mayor is the 11th.

In February 2020, Danielle Outlaw, looking like a brand-new rookie, stood with her gun side toward a wall in City Hall and was sworn in. Her disposing of the traditional swearing-in ceremony was not because she was modest. She had not yet taken her state certification and was not qualified to carry a gun in Pennsylvania.

Danielle Outlaw was never a police commissioner before she came to Philadelphia. But she wants you to think that she was. In Portland, she was the police chief for a brief two years. Mayor Ted Wheeler was – and still is – the police commissioner. Mayor Wheeler to maintain role as Portland police commissioner in 2021 (

Outlaw made a big impression on her first day as Philadelphia Police Commissioner and will forever be known by her nickname “Nail Polish.” Instead of meeting with her command staff to receive briefings and issue her guidance, she visited officers at police stations, where she gave her decree that they could wear any nail polish they wanted. New Police Commissioner Issues First Order About Nail Polish | Big Trial | Philadelphia Trial Blog

Another decree she issued was that supervisors, commanders, and police communications could not call her after hours. Same rules she had in Portland.

In March 2020, Outlaw failed to respond to the COVID pandemic by issuing an outrageous memo for police to stand down in fighting crime. Then she was bewildered and angry when the memo leaked out. Her memo significantly contributed to the soaring crime and murder rate.  

By May 2000, rumors quickly started that she was leaving to go back to Oakland. You see, back in December 2019, Outlaw had impulsively said “yes” to taking the job as Philadelphia Police Commissioner. Kenney offered her the job; she did not apply for it. Her big ego won over her poor judgment. Philadelphia had a lot of challenges and work conditions that she hated. She should have declined the offer to look for a better fit elsewhere since she was already unhappy in Portland.

Less than two weeks after Outlaw began her duties in Philadelphia, the Oakland Police Commission abruptly fired their police chief after “the Oakland Police Department’s failure to increase compliance with the court-ordered reforms” required under a federal settlement more than a decade ago. Outlaw would have happily taken the post if she had not relocated to Philadelphia and started the new job. She knew she screwed up. Oakland was Outlaw’s hometown, and she missed it. She was very familiar with the federal settlement and experienced as a “police accountability consultant” assigned to the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division when she was still Oakland’s Deputy Police Chief.

Fox29 noticed that Outlaw began missing daily press briefings. Outlaw made secret trips back to Oakland to interview, but Kenney wouldn’t let her leave. She signed a contract. When Fox29’s Jeff Cole confronted Outlaw during a press briefing if she would consider a police chief job in Oakland, Outlaw said, “no.” 

Coincidentally, Outlaw had to rebuff similar rumors that she was leaving when she was in Portland:

“Mayor Wheeler placed his confidence in me to be the police chief after conducting a meticulous selection process,” Outlaw said in the written statement. “I am profoundly grateful for his continued support and acknowledgement of how challenging the work of law enforcement can be for all of us. He has been a PPB advocate since day one; championing the Bureau’s needs for additional resources and understanding that one can be supportive of police and supportive of police accountability at the same time.” She was just as ineffective out there as she is here. And just as disliked. Portland knew she was just using them as a stepping stone. Rumors that her departure was imminent persisted throughout her tenure at Portland.

COURTESY PHOTO: CITY OF PHILADELPHIA – Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney introduced Portland Police Chief Danielle Outlaw Monday, Dec. 30, as the new police commissioner during a televised press conference. Kenney said Outlaw was the right person for the job.
Memo writer

Outlaw leads by memo. Mayor Wheeler in Portland taught her to do this. Her memos to police personnel take on an out-of-touch, elitist, managerial, pompous, condescending, and rambling tone. Officers think they are stupid. The media might give kudos for her memos in Portland, but everyone in Philadelphia is WTF.

Meanwhile, Outlaw doesn’t hesitate to make emotional statements as police commissioner in person to the press when it strikes a chord in her as a Black person or a mother.

On May 25, 2020, George Floyd, a black male, was murdered by Minneapolis Police Officers. Since the mid-1990s, most if not every police officer in the United States has been trained to prevent Positional Asphyxiation when securing a suspect. The lead officer on the arrest failed to follow this training.

On May 28, 2020, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw issued the following statement focusing on her personal feelings, “As a mother, I cannot relay enough the helplessness and sadness I feel when my sons, having been children of police officers their entire lives, relay to me that they fear for their lives because of the unjustified fear others have of them; solely due to their existence. Throughout the nation, communities of color are tired of reliving atrocities such as this over and over again. They are sick and tired of being sick and tired.”

While we wholeheartedly agree with her statement, it would have been helpful if she had avoided using her $285,000-year job as police commissioner to express personal feelings and, instead, used it to assure the public that, under her leadership, this won’t happen here. Leaders set the tone. If she is emotional, then everyone else is, too. If she is calm and professional, there is a greater likelihood that the public will stay calm.

Outlaw’s emotional statement about Floyd signaled to lawbreakers that she was potentially soft on crime. And those wishing to harm the city knew there was a lack of police presence. The outcome was that criminal activity extended well beyond Center City and throughout every neighborhood and section of the city. No one had ever seen anything like this before.

Page 24 of Philadelphia City Controller Rebecca Rhynhart’s report states that as early as May 26, 2020, news media and law enforcement intelligence information was available to make Kenney and Outlaw aware of the threat of riots on its way to Philadelphia. Page 23 states that the City had experience putting contingency plans in place in the event of riots and civil unrest. Page 25 details how Outlaw failed to do anything, and “in the absence of strong leadership and direction, which resulted in a lack of City-wide planning, individual commanding officers began to take informal steps to prepare for potential unrest within the city.”

Three reasons explain the utter failure of Philadelphia to prepare for the riot and protests. First, Mayor Kenney didn’t want “the optics” of police on the streets. He feared police presence and visibility would trigger unrest. But he is a politician and should have relied on the expertise of his police commissioner for police preparations. Second, Outlaw is incompetent, lacks leadership, and habitually pushes her responsibility on to others. Her fixation on being Black and a mother hinders her police duties to safeguard all Philadelphians and the City. Third, Joe Sullivan was no longer in the Department. If he was, all she had to do was delegate the problem to him, and he would have done everything for her.

An entire week and Outlaw failed to prepare. No contingency plans. No canceling days off. No extending tours. No deployment of bikes and special units. No police commissioner meeting with her command staff. The Police Commissioner said her “radar went up” on May 29th when she saw the protests and unrest in Atlanta, so she started texting other commanders to understand what was being done. She was told plans were in place, but she didn’t bother verifying them, learning them or reviewing them. Outlaw assumed it was someone else’s problem: the Fire Commissioner and Office of Emergency Management (OEM) Director. Because after all, she had just arrived in Philly three-and-a-half months before, and she didn’t think she was responsible. “I relied on the recommendations, and trusted the judgment of those who advised me, who have experience managing protests here in Philadelphia,” Outlaw would say a month later when she needed an excuse.

The mayor had hired a slacker at $285,000 a year.

On May 30, 2020, the looting and chaos started in Center City. 13 police officers received injuries in the riots, and more would follow. Everyone in the police department except Outlaw knew there were not enough cops working. The next day, John McNesby, President of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5, remarked, “Does [Internal Affairs] handle complaints for lack of strategic planning, leadership and basic understanding of crowd control? Asking for a few thousand friends.” Outlaw lied and said the rioters were from outside the city, and she blamed whites with a “didn’t look like me” remark. Imagine if a white police commissioner had said that.

Inquirer June 1, 2020
The Centre Daily Times (State College, Pa.) June 1, 2020

On May 31st Outlaw encouraged her commanders to use tear gas against protesters, as reported on page 12 of the City Controllers report:

This meeting would be the only one Outlaw had with members of her command staff: to encourage tear gas on protesters.

Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Inquirer stoked their progressive agenda instead of reporting objectively. On June 1, 2020, the day of the Vine Expressway incident, the Inquirer ran news stories in Op-Ed style, “Disgust over generations of racism in a country founded by slaveholders combined with a string of recent racially charged killings to stoke the anger. Adding to that was angst from months of lockdowns brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, which has disproportionately hurt communities of color, not only in terms of infections but in job losses and economic stress.”  This propaganda served to justify the rioting, looting, burning stores own, and assaulting police.

A New York Times investigation showed that the police did not deploy their SWAT officers properly to clear the Vine Street Expressway of protesters. Philadelphia Police Violated Their Own Guidelines, Here’s How | Visual Investigations – YouTube

The video shows SWAT approaching protesters from both directions on the Vine Street Expressway – a limited-access highway ravine with tall concrete walls on both sides and an outer perimeter of fencing with nowhere for the protesters to go. Several police commanders told us that this was the biggest problem with clearing the protesters. Best practices of policing call for always giving protesters an escape route; never NEVER entrap protesters. Police should direct protesters away from desirable businesses. Ideally, officers should direct them toward residential areas so they can go home. But at the very least, they should have an “egress route.” Several sources also told us that if Deputy Commissioner Joe Sullivan were still on the job, he would have provided a coordinated deployment of police personnel and properly dispersed the protesters.

Outlaw’s decisions violated generally accepted law enforcement principles. The International Association of Chiefs of Police published the following guidance that Outlaw should have followed during the Vine Street protests:

“Crowd Management and Control” Model Policy, October 2014. International Association of Chiefs of Police

Based on New York Times interviews of those there, police made no announcement or asked the protesters to leave.

Page 16 of the City Controller’s report states, “The Police Commissioner reported that as the crowd made its way onto the highway, she [Danielle Outlaw] was parked on one of the overpasses above I-676.” Since she was “there” and was the highest-ranking officer, wouldn’t she be the Incident Commander? Most officers tell us that she was off hiding somewhere and “the safest place is where Outlaw is.” So she must be lying.

On June 1, 2020, Danielle Outlaw ordered CS gas against protesters on the Vine Expressway in Philadelphia. Just like she called it a night before. That is what several high-ranking police commanders tell us. One of these commanders explained that they would never have ordered CS gas because it gassed the officers who didn’t have masks. The City Controller’s report states, “Two city officials told investigators Outlaw had also requested to use tear gas on May 30 in Center City after protests that began near City Hall devolved into unrest. That request was denied by top members of Kenney’s administration, and while Outlaw told investigators she didn’t recall making the request, she didn’t deny it.” Outlaw thought she was back in Portland.

Police Commissioner Outlaw blamed Dennis Wilson, left, after she failed to accept responsibility. The City threatened Wilson to take responsibility for her or be arrested and fired for improper use of force.

On June 2, 2020: The Inquirer/Daily News reported that “Mayor Jim Kenney and Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said the use of gas was a “last resort” taken after protesters flooded an open highway, surrounded a state trooper’s car, and threw rocks at officers, but they did not share evidence of those events.” That same day, Outlaw blamed Deputy Commissioner Wilson for using the tear gas, “The decision to deploy gas was made by the incident commander there on the scene. I’m not going to say names at this point.”

The Inquirer/Daily News further reported, “the protesters, neutral observers, and journalists on the scene reported seeing no acts of aggression on the level described by police. The TV news helicopter footage published to date shows neither the rock-throwing incident nor protesters harassing police vehicles.”

That is because these were lies that Outlaw and Kenney put out – just like their lies of outsiders and Outlaw’s racist remarks about people that don’t look like her.

Outlaw remained in four locations throughout the riot days: Police Headquarters, City Hall, the Emergency Operations Center, and her home. She often followed Kenney around, but she never checked on her officers. By all accounts, no one ever saw her.

On June 3, 2020, the one time she came out of Police Headquarters, someone punched a cameraman standing next to her to see what she would do. She played nursemaid to the man instead of taking police action. But this did not stop the Inquirer/Daily News’ from glorifying her 15 minutes on the street.

Nursemaid Danielle Outlaw

June 4, 2020: she disrespected the rank-and-file by ordering the black crepes removed from police badges to cater to complaints on social media. Officers were wearing these crepes in honor of fallen Police Sergeant James O’Connor, a white police officer. In fact, under Outlaw’s tenure, the Department was remiss in starting a departmental collection for his family. This was an unconscionable failure of essential leadership. Traditionally, a collection immediately begins after a police officer dies in the line of duty and each police officer gives ten dollars for the family. Many months later, Inspector Verdell Johnson learned of the oversight and ordered a belated collection.

On the same day she disrespected Sergeant O’Connor, his family, and all police officers, Outlaw went to Twitter on video to let everyone know, “I am committed to driving this movement for change forward.” Outlaw joined other law enforcement leaders, including Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, to call for state legislation to reform the police-hiring process so that records of misconduct or excessive use of force follow cops when they leave a police agency. This “movement” also includes using police pension fund monies to pay for police lawsuit settlements.

June 6, 2020: Mayor Kenney and Commissioner Outlaw took a knee. She violated PPD policy prohibiting taking sides. PHILADELPHIA POLICE DEPARTMENT ( The next day, Kenney sent a letter to City Council denying police funding.

June 14, 2020: Three federal lawsuits named Kenney and Outlaw defendants due to “abuses of police power” for their failed leadership on May 31st and June 1st when police used rubber bullets and tear gas.

June 25, 2020: The New York Times released a video compilation refuting Kenney and Outlaw’s version of the story regarding their use of tear gas on Vine Expressway protesters. Within hours, Kenney and Outlaw abruptly apologized and admitted they had offered incorrect and uncorroborated explanations (lied) for why police resorted to tear gas, pepper spray, and tear gas.

Inquirer June 26, 2020

If the public could hear the actual police radio tapes, they may get more information. However, the City took steps so that you can’t listen to them. The New York Times may have had access to the police radio tapes as they play a clip in their video. But since that time, police radio tapes have been removed from the Broadcastify website.

Deputy Commissioner Dennis Wilson, a white officer, was made the sacrificial lamb. With Outlaw nodding in approval behind him, Wilson publicly humiliated himself by saying, “I didn’t call the commissioner. I gave the approval. And it was me and me alone. For violating the rules of engagement and the commissioner’s trust, I’m going to take a voluntary demotion.” Outlaw then patted him on his back as he left the stage. No one had ever seen anything like this before.

Outlaw then promoted Chief Inspector Melvin Singleton, a Black officer, to First Deputy of Field Operations because he ordered officers to take a knee in support of Black Lives Matter back on June 1st during the rioting. This is whom Danielle Outlaw felt comfortable serving as her “Number 2.”

Outlaw’s mismanagement has fueled homicides. By early July, police reported a total of 31 weekend shootings that claimed the lives of seven people. Among the victims were a 15-year-old boy and a six-year-old boy that negligence may have caused his death. Outlaw called these rising murders “chilling.” She released an “action plan” on July 6th. Commanders tell us this “action plan” consisted of nothing new. All she did was restore the Department’s geographical division into north and south Regional Operation Centers. Philly’s Official Ineptitude Enables A Surge In Violent Crime | Big Trial | Philadelphia Trial Blog

By late August, Outlaw settled into her “we can’t do it alone” mantra. On August 21st, Commissioner Outlaw appeared on Fox29’s Good Day program in response to the gun violence and said, “We all have a role to play, I’ll be a sounding board, but at some point, it’s one thing to spout off some pretty hateful things, but I’m really not for it if you’re not for solutions.” Outlaw said. “Come to the table, you can say what you want, say what you need, but at this point, children are dying, people are hurt. It doesn’t fix anything.”

She then ranted about receiving an email from a citizen frustrated over someone breaking into their car. Instead of focusing on the vandalism, she took it personally when the citizen “used some pretty racial expletives to describe the person” who broke into their car. She talked about the impact those words had on her, a $285,000-year salaried commissioner who was supposed to be an adult, seasoned in police work, used to dealing with the public, and trained to not taking things personally. Outlaw talked more in circles and rambled, “So we’ve got to get our heads together, we need to be aligned, and we need to all move together with the same sense of urgency around what we are experiencing in our communities as residents here.” Whatever that is supposed to mean. Meanwhile, a taxpayer – who she personally does not like – is still having their car vandalized. “We all have a role to play”: Commissioner Outlaw responds to ongoing gun violence in Philadelphia (

On October 26, 2000, two white Philadelphia Police Officers shot and killed Walter Wallace, Jr., a black man. Cellphone video captured the incident and showed the officers repeatedly order Wallace to drop a knife. Wallace went around parked cars to run into the street and charged at the retreating officers with the knife. The male died after the officers shot Wallace. Several experienced officers who viewed the video said the incident appeared to a “Suicide by Cop.”

Mayor Kenney’s and Commissioner Outlaw’s statements regarding the Wallace shooting were foolish and created problems where there are none:

Statement of Mayor Jim Kenney:
“My prayers are with the family and friends of Walter Wallace. I have watched the video of this tragic incident and it presents difficult questions that must be answered. I spoke tonight with Mr. Wallace’s family, and will continue to reach out to hear their concerns first-hand, and to answer their questions to the extent that I am able. The Officer Involved Shooting Investigation Unit of PPD will conduct a full investigation. I look forward to a speedy and transparent resolution for the sake of Mr. Wallace, his family, the officers, and for Philadelphia.”

Statement of Commissioner Outlaw:
“I have directed the Officer Involved Shooting Investigation Unit to begin its investigation. I recognize that the video of the incident raises many questions. Residents have my assurance that those questions will be fully addressed by the investigation. While at the scene this evening, I heard and felt the anger of the community. Everyone involved will forever be impacted. I will be leaning on what the investigation gleans to answer the many unanswered questions that exist. I also plan to join the mayor in meeting with members of the community and members of Mr. Wallace’s family to hear their concerns as soon as it can be scheduled.”

Both statements say that there are questions that, frankly, do not exist. The video of the incident showed what happened. The family called the police to the scene, and the officers defended themselves and the safety of others. Police followed their training and departmental policy. The officers used reasonable force in response to imminent serious bodily injury or death.

Contrast Outlaw’s statement on the Wallace shooting to that of New York Police Department’s Police Commissioner Dermot Shea, whose officers shot and killed an armed man in December 2020:

Shea said that police fired a total of 15 shots at a gunman. At least one of the shots struck the gunman in the head. Police took the gunman to the hospital in critical condition, where he was later pronounced dead.

Shea praised the actions of his officers.

“I can tell you from the preliminary body camera – and again, this is quick – that we watched, you see three officers acting heroically, sergeant, detective, and police officer engaging an armed perpetrator, putting themselves in harm’s way to pull people that are literally hiding behind these poles behind me caught in the crossfire,” Shea said. “So it is by the grace of God today that we don’t have anyone struck.”

Shea’s preliminary remarks make it clear that his officers behaved correctly. His statement also serves to build the public’s trust in police.

The statements of Kenney and Outlaw have the opposite effect. They question the Officers’ actions and create controversy where there is none. Neither Kenney nor Outlaw demonstrated support for police. Instead, they want the police to fail.

Here are highlights of news coverage of Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw’s performance from last October until now:

Oct. 27, 2021: In stark contrast to the cover-up designed to protect her accountability during the Vine Street protests, Outlaw pledged to release 911 tapes and body cam video of the two white police officers who shot a black man. She pandered to the family of Wallace and wanted to get their permission before releasing the police bodycam video, even though a cellphone video was available on the internet showing the incident.

Oct. 27, 2021, Melvin Singleton ordered no police response for burglary and thefts during Wallace protests. Free looting. Rioters were marching through stores taking whatever they wanted.

Oct. 29, 2021, Former Mayor Street called Outlaw a failure of leadership.

Nov. 18, 2021, Thanksgiving Trick. Outlaw used COVID as an excuse to “self-quarantine” herself conveniently just before Thanksgiving (November 26). She intentionally did this so she could sneak out to Oakland and spend a week with her family over the holidays.

“Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw is in self-quarantine. Outlaw is working from home after an employee assigned to her immediate office tested positive for COVID-19.

According to officials, Outlaw was informed on November 12 and had been “following all protocols,” including working remotely.

Philadelphia police employees are required to wear a mask at all times and have been provided with PPE and hand sanitizer, officials said.”

Meanwhile, Outlaw turned a blind eye to police officers crammed in buses and made to sit there for hours in close-distance on details during disturbances with COVID going on. This despite their “protocols” and the fact that COVID is the number one cause of police deaths across the country.

These outrageous conditions didn’t make it in the news, but conditions affecting Police Dispatchers later did because the union representing these civilian employees reported it. Philly police COVID outbreak: 911 dispatchers testify to unsafe working conditions – On top of Philly news (

In December 2020, Mayor Kenney released his self-serving “independent review” of the city’s failure to control riots. The “report” was prepared by his law firm and had a limitation placed on it to ensure its worthlessness: don’t criticize leadership. And claim there were no plans when, in fact, there were on-the-shelf plans in place as well as experienced commanders available. Outlaw never met with her command staff to plan anything. Commanders were left on their own, without her direction, to do her job. See page 25 of the Controller’s report:

Jan. 26, 2021, Philadelphia City Controller Rebecca Rhynhart released her report and determined Outlaw sought to use tear gas against protesters as Kenney hesitated during the city’s failure to control the riots.

Jan. 28, 2021, Ernest Owens called for Kenney and Outlaw to resign.

January 28, 2021 Outlaw arrogant said she deserves to be here – and some.

Feb. 2, 2021, Abdul-Aliy Muhammad and Amelia Carter, For The Inquirer, agreed with Owens.

Feb. 3, 2021, Solomon Jones of the Inquirer and WURD gave the “twice as good” race-charged excuse for Outlaw. Jones’ double standard argument claimed that white Philadelphia health commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley was somehow treated better than black Philadelphia police commissioner Outlaw. Both screwed up their jobs.

Feb. 5, 2021, The Philly Tribune set a low standard for Outlaw. The Black Clergy regurgitated the standard excuses, including systemic racism (it is the white man’s fault), it’s the FOP’s fault, she admitted making a mistake, and she just got here.

Jenice Armstrong zero reporter

Feb. 6, 2021, Jenice Armstrong told critics of Outlaw to “back off” after pulling out the old stand-by double standard narrative. A tool that has served her well at the Inky.

Feb. 10, 2021. The National Police Foundation issued a report that, when Danielle Outlaw was chief in Portland, Oregon, police ‘escalated tensions’ by using force against protesters.

Editor at Large for Philadelphia Magazine and President of the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists.

Feb. 11, 2021, Ernest Owens follow-up: don’t use the identity politics excuse for Outlaw.

In the aftermath of calls for resignation, Kenney offered Outlaw two years of her commissioner salary to leave so he could bring in Renee Hall, who became available at the end of last year and is waiting in the wings.  But Outlaw refused, and the universal belief is that Kenney is too much of a pussy to fire or pressure her. Outlaw owns Kenney because he was informed and approved of the CS gas, and she would give him up in a heartbeat.

Commissioner Danielle Outlaw and Dr. Thomas Fahey

Meanwhile, the embattled Dr. Thomas Farley, who was reluctant to leave his post after mishandling the city’s COVID response, resigned after concerns were suddenly and conveniently raised regarding handling a MOVE member’s remains after 36 years. He was set up. “This action lacked empathy for the victims, their family, and the deep pain that the MOVE bombing has brought to our city for nearly four decades,” Kenney said in a statement. “The Team investigating this incident will include individuals specifically approved by the Africa family and we will make every effort to resolve this matter to MOVE’s satisfaction.”

So who is working “twice as hard” these days? Kenney still benefits from Outlaw staying. Outlaw does nothing, but no one can complain about her because she is a Black female; this is the real “elephant in the room.” Identity politics is Philadelphia’s number one underlying problem.

Other than Ernest Owens and a few Inquirer staffers, the Black community continues to enable Outlaw, and the Black bodies continue to pile up.

Children are dying. People are hurt. Excuses don’t fix anything.

We come to the table offering the following solution: stop making excuses and hire the best person for the job. Don’t hire leaders based on their race and gender. Hold our leaders accountable regardless of their race or gender. Being a “change agent,” or “the first Black female,” or a representative/voice of a specific demographic are not qualifications. Being experienced, credible, effective and possessing stamina and good judgment is. Outlaw has none of these qualities.

Kenney and Outlaw must resign. Politicians, community leaders, and police officials need to put the best interest of all city residents and its visitors first – not just those that look like them. The media must stop abusing their power and return to objective reporting. The public needs to educate themselves and question what they are being told by the media, politicians, and special interest groups.

WPVI-TV Action News September 26, 2021

You can see Philadelphia’s crime statistics and homicide body counts here:

Just note that the true homicide rate is much higher because the Philadelphia Police Department “cooks the books’ and reports between 100 to 150 murders as “suspicious deaths” and assigns them “S” numbers instead of “M” numbers.

2 thoughts on “Philadelphia Police Commissioner Outlaw Still Not Ready for Prime Time

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create your website with
Get started
%d bloggers like this: