“We are talking about apples and oranges here. Young black men and justice…vs. Mr. Tracy lighting fires are two different things.” Former Coatesville City Councilperson Marty Eggleston
I believe the answers to the questions Coatesville residents had on November of 2009 put blood on the hands of Pennsylvania volunteer firefighter organizations and the politicians who support them.
"Tracey's attorney, Frances Miller of West Chester, said that Tracey had up until the hearing not taken responsibility for the two incidents. But the veteran defense attorney hesitated when asked by reporters after the hearing whether his client actually committed the crimes.
"My client was facing 40 years in jail, and he's walking out with 242 days of (jail time)," Miller said. "I simply believe it's a just resolution based on the facts that we know, and the strengths and weaknesses of the Commonwealth's case."
He said his client would return to his family home and start anew. The conviction will prohibit him from working again as a firefighter. "He's going to start rebuilding his life, and start being a father to his children," Miller said after the hearing.
Tracey was accused of setting two fires the night of March 20 in Coatesville. The first was a porch fire at a home in the 600 block of Madison Street; the second was a garbage can fire in the 100 block of Hope Street, a few blocks from the Madison Street blaze.
As Ost-Prisco pointed out in the hearing before Sarcione, both of the fires were minor in comparison to the other fires that were set in the city during 2008 and 2009 -- one of which destroyed most of a block of Fleetwood Street and resulted in $15 million in damages.
By MICHAEL P. RELLAHAN, Special to the Times
POSTED: 11/20/09, 12:01 AM EST | UPDATED: ON 11/20/2009
“I’m here because I read in the paper that the fire guy. That he got released from jail. And a lot of the citizens is very upset about it and they want an explanation about why. How can this happen?
One of our people was in their house and crimes that happen in Coatesville, it seems like the young Black males is always gettin penalized with harsh sentences. And this is a fire guy that set a lot of fires and all that’s said now, he is being released from jail and I’m here as a citizen…
The truth is the citizens is very concerned with this guy who is released from jail. He was an arson. People was in the houses when he was setting fires and people in the community is real upset about the DA’s decision...
When it comes to justice, it seems that justice is there for us. And that sending a bad message to the community that you release him out of jail under certain conditions but what happened to the young black people that is arrested for little minor crimes, but this is a terrorist. A guy that set a lot of fires…
He should be penalized he should still be in jail without bail.
We as citizens. We is concerned with what the DAs thinking. How come this is not an FBI investigation or FBI indictment. Do internal affairs have to come in?...”
Coatesville City Councilperson Marty Eggleston answers:
“I can tell you that no one in this room can tell you what the DA was thinking as far as his decision goes. Whether it be one way or the other. I think all of us have certain individual feelings regarding what we read in the newspaper. You gotta understand one thing, not often does common sense and the law or our own opinion and the law kind of go together…
My understanding as an individual person, not as a council member, but as an individual person, I understand that there is a very strong misconception that Mr. Tracey was a sole arsonist who lit most or all of the fires in the City of Coatesville. There is that misconception because I’ve heard it in the street. He has been referred to as ‘the arsonist” on so many different occasions.
By his own admission Mr. Tracey was fired from the City of Coatesville,,, he is guilty as sin.
There is an exchange between Councilperson Eggleston and Mr. Suber concerning young black men being arrested.
Mr. Eggleston, “Your comparison Mr. Suber to… Your comparison to young black men who commit crimes and justice not being served, I’ll be honest with you, I’m a little bit offended… And the reason why I say that is because I have witnessed young black men selling drugs in front of my home…
So you want to talk about justice, I have witnessed young black men in my neighborhood in front of my home selling drugs. I have seen those young black men get arrested. And then I’ve seen those same black men back on my block selling drugs again. Now you tell me, Mr. Suber, where’s the justice in that?…
We are talking about apples and oranges here...
Young black men and justice…vs. Mr. Tracy lighting fires are two different things.”
AN AUDIO RECORDING OF THE EXCHANGE BETWEEN RONNY SUBER AND THEN COATESVILLE CITY COUNCIL MEMBER MARTY EGGLESTON IS HERE: