John Charmo

John Charmo, a Candidate For Attorney General in Western Pennsylvania, Has Spent a Quarter of a Million Dollars Running Ads in the Philadelphia Area

A candidate for attorney general from western Pennsylvania has spent $250,000 running ads in the Philadelphia area to position himself as a tough-on-cops former prosecutor. The ad highlights Charmo’s conviction in the 1995 shooting death of Jerry Jackson, an unarmed black man.

Zappala reopened the case in 1999 when Jackson’s family discovered videotape evidence that had been withheld from a coroner’s jury. This video showed Jackson’s car had wheel markings which contradicted Charmo’s claim that he fired into Jackson as he spun around in the Armstrong Tunnels.

Early Life and Education

John Charmo was born on April 18, 1958 in Butte, Montana – the youngest of five children. After graduating from West Junior High School in 1982 and receiving a degree in business management from the University of Montana, he worked as staff member at both Butte Sheltered Workshop and Mountain View Social Development Center until his passing.

After an initial investigation cleared him, Charmo was charged in 1999 for the death of Jerry Jackson during a chase through the Armstrong Tunnels. Though initially cleared of all wrongdoing, Charmo ultimately faced charges of homicide which were ultimately dismissed after six years of legal wrangling. After pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter yesterday and receiving between 11 1/2 to 23 months in jail as punishment, Charmo will serve his sentence today.

Professional Career

John Charmo, a white former police officer with the Pittsburgh Housing Authority, was charged in 1995 with shooting unarmed black man Jerry Jackson after he was stopped for driving the wrong way on a one-way street. A coroner’s jury recommended that Charmo not be charged; however, Zappala revived the case in 1999 after videotape evidence was discovered by Jackson’s family.

In 2001, Charmo pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and received a sentence of 11 1/2 to 23 months in prison — half the amount of time he would have served had he been found guilty of murder. Zappala maintained that this plea was necessary so Charmo could never return to police work again. Furthermore, Zappala noted that an adjudication for involuntary manslaughter is legally equivalent to a criminal homicide conviction, meaning federal laws would prevent Charmo from owning firearms.

Achievements and Honors

John Charmo has achieved and been recognized for many things, from being a decorated police officer to an entrepreneur. He’s renowned for being a good neighbor and an outstanding public servant; moreover, many credit him with improving quality of life for many in the city. John was selected to join a special task force designed to address crime on Hill and West Oakland; furthermore, as one of Oakland’s top cops he also served on a committee creating training material for officers already on the job.

Personal Life

Yesterday, former Pittsburgh Housing Authority police officer john Charmo finally pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and was sentenced to 11 1/2 to 23 months in jail. He will be eligible for parole December 22. Zappala noted that this verdict will prevent Charmo from returning to law enforcement work and also prevent him from owning federal firearms.

Last night, Coroner Thomas Wecht of the Philadelphia Coroner’s Office and county prosecutors celebrated the 20th anniversary of Jerry Jackson’s shooting in April 1995. After announcing his reelection, he brought back the case to illustrate racial profiling by police and their inability to convict officers who killed unarmed black people during high-speed chases. Furthermore, he called for reforms in how county prosecutors handle death investigations involving police officers.

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