By John Finnerty
HERMITAGE — The killing of Trayvon Martin was a wakeup call. But when state Rep. Louise Bishop’s grandson was accosted by a stranger who identified himself as a member of the neighborhood watch, the Philadelphia lawmaker knew she had to act.
Bishop said her 16-year-old grandson was heading toward a home where he was supposed to be dog-sitting. The stranger asked what the teen was doing and the ordered the boy to get into his vehicle. Bishop’s grandson escaped and in the weeks since, it’s still not clear whether the man who accosted the teen was a rogue member of a local watch or an impersonator trying to entice the boy into his car.
Either way, the episode illustrated clearly to Bishop the shortcomings in the informal, unregulated manner that neighborhood watch groups operate in Pennsylvania and across the country.
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