Philadelphia employee, charged with gun crime, gets new job in violence prevention office

City Hall.
Photo credit Holli Stephens/KYW Newsradio

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — A man who worked in Philadelphia's Office of Violence Prevention and was charged last year with gun offenses is still with the city, with a new role in the same office.

Morris Hobson has been reassigned as the office's community engagement manager after a negotiated plea. He was previously a group violence intervention coordinator.

Hobson was charged last May with carrying a firearm without a license, and carrying it in public. He pleaded guilty to the first charge, which was downgraded to a misdemeanor. The latter charge was dropped.

“He was going home from his office and figured it was best that he carried his firearm. He did have a license to carry his firearm. However, it had expired approximately a year before, and that was a mistake. He didn’t renew his license,” said David Nenner, Hobson's attorney, after charges were filed.

Nenner further explained that the license for the gun had expired, and Hobson forgot to renew it. He was carrying it to protect his family and his other business.

Hobson wil make $65,000 per year in his new role.

The city released the following statement in full:

“Morris Hobson was reassigned to serve as Community Engagement Manager in the newly formed MDO Office of Policy and Strategic Initiatives for Criminal Justice and Public Safety, which oversees and coordinates holistically with the Office of Violence Prevention, Office of Criminal Justice, Office of Reentry Partnerships and Town Watch Integrated Services. His salary is $65,000.

“Without speaking specifically to Mr. Hobson, it is important to remember that the Administration is committed to restorative justice and firmly believes in practicing what we promote through fair and equitable public policy. The City funds programs that employ people who were previously charged and convicted of crimes, because this supports their ability to be viewed as credible messengers when engaging other individuals involved in violence and/or involved with the criminal justice system.

"The reality is that often these individuals do not trust the government, but they will trust someone that has walked in their shoes and turned their lives around after coming out of similar bad situations. These credible messengers then help us engage these individuals -- that we would likely not reach -- and encourage them to take advantage of positive alternatives and support that will help them become productive members in their communities.”