PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A prominent Philadelphia lawyer is suing the Philadelphia Police Department after officers seized his car under the city’s “Live Stop” program and left his daughter — who was driving — stranded in West Philadelphia.
Attorney Stephen Sheller says his daughter was driving his car in West Philadelphia last week when she was pulled over for an expired registration. He says police impounded the car and left his daughter and her fiancé stranded in a neighborhood that Sheller contends was unsafe.
“You know, I’d expect this kind of behavior in Damascus, Tripoli, or Teheran, but not in Philadelphia,” he told KYW Newsradio Friday morning.
So Sheller now is suing the City of Philadelphia on behalf of anyone who has had a car impounded under “Live Stop,” a program that he says is blatantly unconstitutional.
A spokesman for the police department says he cannot comment on the suit, but he says officers are obligated to take drivers of impounded cars to a police station or, if possible, to their home.
“Live Stop” began in 1998 and went citywide four years later. Officials say the program has removed from the streets tens of thousands of unregistered cars, and cars driven by unlicensed drivers. One goal was the help lower auto insurance rates in the city.
Reported by KYW City Hall Bureau chief Mike Dunn.