In one of more than 50 criminal incidents reported in the city during yesterday's election, Anesthesia Professor Frank Cornett was struck in the face near the polling facility at David Rittenhouse Laboratory.
The attack occurred at approximately 7:20 a.m. following a verbal exchange between Cornett and a John Street supporter outside of DRL, which is located on the corner of 33rd and Walnut streets.
"We had an individual that was coming out of the polling place," Philadelphia Police Inspector Bill Colarulo said. "He had just voted, and he observed a male who was allegedly hanging a [John] Street poster over a [Sam] Katz poster."
Cornett said that while exiting DRL after voting, he noticed a man putting up Street signs on top of Katz signs. Cornett approached him and said that he did not think it was fair to do so. According to Cornett, the man responded that he would "put them up wherever he wanted."
Cornett then re-entered DRL to summon poll watchers who were on hand, and led them outside to show them what the man was doing. It was at that point, with three witnesses present -- two of whom were poll watchers -- that the man struck Cornett with an open hand, he said.
Colarulo corroborated this exchange, explaining that following a "verbal altercation," the male suspect "allegedly struck the [other] male, causing an injury to the right side of his face."
University and Philadelphia police were called and soon arrived at the scene, but the suspect drove away.
Cornett was then taken to the emergency room at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania for treatment of "a laceration to the right side of his face," Colarulo said.
University Chief of Police Tom Rambo said that no one has yet been arrested in connection with the incident, but that both Penn Police and the Southwest Detective Division of the Philadelphia Police are currently investigating.
However, Cornett said that those at the scene were able to write down the suspect's license plate number, and that he later identified a photograph of the suspect for police detectives.
"My understanding was they were going to arrest him," he said.
"An investigation is ongoing and we are following up leads on the perpetrator," Rambo said.
Cornett said the suspect's violent reaction to his request left him surprised.
"I didn't expect that," Cornett said. "I was showing them how he had been pasting over the signs, but I think his response was way beyond anything that would be appropriate."
"The City of Brotherly Love... it's a little surprising," he added.
Keyetta Logan, the judge of elections overseeing the polling at DRL yesterday, said that other than the incident involving Cornett, no other disturbances occurred, and things had otherwise proceeded smoothly at the location.
The incident was just one of a total of 56 election-related crime reports made throughout the day yesterday, Philadelphia Police said. According to Colarulo, crimes "ranged from disturbance to harassment to vandalism to reports of assaults."
However, none of these other reports involved instances on or near Penn's campus.
"This is the only incident we are aware of at this time," Rambo said.
The Street and Katz campaigns also continued to voice concerns about illegal election-related activity yesterday.
A Philadelphia judge issued an injunction against Street campaign worker David Kushner, who was allegedly intimidating voters and interfering with the election process, according to a statement released by the Katz campaign.
The injunction asked that he "immediately cease and desist from any and all unlawful electioneering... physical or verbal intimidation, harassment or other coercion of voters, poll workers or election board officials," the statement said.
But Katz campaign manager Brian Tierney said he does not anticipate any real legal ramifications to stem from the Election Day incidents.
"It'll be what it is, it'll get dusted off and put on the side," he said, noting that District Attorney Lynne Abraham is "part of this rigged casino that we have as Philadelphia politics."Comments powered by Disqus
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