Equipment Operator to Be Charged in Philadelphia Building Collapse

Penn Live, June 7, 2013

A 42-year-old man who was allegedly high while operating demolition equipment when a downtown building collapsed and killed six people will be charged with involuntary manslaughter, a top city official said Friday.

Sean Benschop faces six counts on that charge, six counts of risking catastrophe and other charges, said Deputy Mayor Everett Gillison.

Sean Benschop

Sean Benschop

Authorities have said Benschop had been using an excavator Wednesday when what was left of the four-story building gave way and fell on top of a neighboring Salvation Army thrift store.

A toxicology report, witness statements and other evidence shows Benschop was high on marijuana that day, Gillison said.


Benschop, who also goes by the name Kary Roberts, has been arrested at least 11 times since 1994 on charges ranging from drugs to theft to weapons possession, according to court records. He was twice sentenced to prison in the 1990s after being convicted on drug trafficking charges. Benschop’s last arrest, for aggravated assault, came in January 2012, but the case was dismissed for lack of evidence.

Among those killed was a woman who was working her first day at the store. Thirteen people were hurt.


The city is also preparing to implement sweeping changes in its regulations of building demolition, Mayor Michael Nutter said Friday, adding that every active demolition site is being inspected for safety.

“We will not accept the status quo in the face of this tragedy,” Nutter said.

Councilman James Kenney, among others, called for a review of the demolition application and inspection process and demanded a stricter process for demolition companies.

“This is happening all over the city,” he said. “I need to know who the workers are who are there, what they know, what they don’t know, how they’ve been trained.”


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  • MekongDelta69

    I can’t believe this! I’m shocked! This can’t be! Another ‘yout of color’ misbehaving. And he killed people. And he had a long record. And his last (and most violent) crime was dismissed. And he used an alias. And the MSM didn’t report it!

    Who would have thought?!

    [Btw – nice ‘do’ he’s got there.]

    • The__Bobster

      The ten-time loser is far too old to be a yoof.

    • Morris LeChat

      no word about the demolition being a “minority contractor” who the work because of minority set asides.

    • joemcgee

      Who would have thought?!
      Incorrect in todays parlance, it’s who wood’a thunk it…

  • Puggg

    Who’s the moron who hired someone who looks like this to operate heavy machinery?

    • The__Bobster

      BC Philadelphia – As rescue crews continue to search underneath the rubble of a collapsed building in downtown Philadelphia that killed six people and injured more than a dozen others, new details are emerging about the contractor and crane operator who were hired to demolish the building.

      The 4-story building, located on 2136-2138 Market Street, is owned by the STB Investments Corporation. STB paid $385,894 for the nearly 4,200-square-foot property in 1994. The company Griffin-Campbell Construction was doing demolition work on the property.

      While contractor Griffin Campbell, 49, had a valid license, court records also show that he has a criminal record and pleaded guilty to theft and insurance fraud back in 2009.

      Records also show that Campbell filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection back in March and owes thousands in unpaid city business taxes as well as state and federal taxes.

      The crane operator who was onsite Wednesday morning before the collapse has a criminal record as well, sources close to the investigation, who did not want to be named because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the case, told NBC10’s Nefertiti Jaquez.

      • The__Bobster

        Now let’s look at the clown who hired the moron who hired the moron.

      • OlderWoman

        Nefertiti Jaquez.

        Got to be a black.

  • joemcgee

    Whoever would hire that guy to do anything more than sweep and mop a floor should be put in prison for criminal imcompetence. There’s nothing to say about the black guy. The picture says it all.

  • The__Bobster

    The loser tried the “feets do yo’ stuff” thang, but the popo caught up with him.

    PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The man who was operating an excavator at the scene of
    Wednesday’s deadly building collapse in Center City is in police custody.

    42-year-old Sean Benschop turned himself in to authorities at Central Detectives just after 3:30 p.m. on Saturday with a red jacket pulled over his head and a bandage on his arm.

    An arrest warrant was approved late Friday night for Benschop after a search warrant was executed on his home earlier in the day. Police removed two computers and another box of
    unknown items from the home.

  • The__Bobster

    When this story first broke on the local NBC affiliate, the natives got on their tom-toms and flooded the comments section of the story, stating that there was no reason why criminals shouldn’t have been hired for the job, that they are just as qualified to do demolition work as someone with a clean record.

  • Bon, From the Land of Babble

    Affirmative Action comes to mind, minorities preferred; the contractor is black. (photo of contractor at link below).

    The city is just as guilty, letting this idiot continue to handle heavy equipment and doing nothing to stop it.

    According to the Daily Mail online:

    It was revealed Thursday that nearly a month before the deadly collapse that ended the lives of six people, the City of Philadelphia had been made aware of potentially unsafe demolition practices at the site.

    AA, of course, trumps safety factors and human lives.


  • KittyAmerica

    I think George Schultz started some kind of Philadelphia Plan when he worked for Nixon as Labor Sec. Does that sound right? Don’t remember for sure but I think he got this thing rolling.

    • humura

      It began under LBJ, an affirmative action quota scheme (got around the law by calling quotas goals and timetables.) When Humphre lost in 1968, all assumed the experiment was over. Nixon and Schultz revivied it, and then Nixon expanded it so affirmative action became national policy, and then expanded it to Hispanics, women, etc. All part of the elite war against the white working class, giving preferences to the pets of the elite, no matter how unqualified they are.

      • KittyAmerica

        Thank you.

  • humura

    Could this be another example of affirmative action at work?

  • O’lawdy I must of hitzs da wrongs leverbs iz be sorrys O’lawdys

  • IKantunderstand

    Oh please, this is Obama’s America. Employers are not allowed to discriminate against felons. Has anyone besides me noticed that the words appearing across newscasts are misspelled? That repairs to public works were done faster, and better? That the DMV used to be run more efficiently? That everything seems to be slower, less efficient, less dependable? Has anyone else noticed this? And, what is even more disconcerting, it is accepted as the new norm. For example, tonight I watched “The Five” on Fox news. The banner underneath their top story said that the whistleblower was from the NRA. The NRA? Right after that is was changed to the correct “NSA”. These mistakes are constant, not only on FOX, but on my local news. Once upon a time, this would have been considered completely unacceptable. Now, it is just par for the course. Actually, on my local news, egregious errors are not even corrected in real time. Don’t care? Don’t notice? Gonna get paid anyway, I’m Black?

    • ms_anthro

      Idiocracy is here.

    • joemcgee

      Exactly Sir. But don’t think this is bottom. We’re going to go a long way down from where we are now.

  • Keep Honkin I’m Reloading

    I’d wondered why this story seemed to just disappear from the “news”. I imagine it was about 15 minutes after they discovered he was a drug addled “urban.”

  • Morris LeChat

    Isn’t that an Italian name?

  • sbuffalonative

    Whites engineer technology so well that it appears easy to use. Hence, blacks look at white made machines and they believe they can operate them just as well as whites.

  • sbuffalonative

    Convicted drug dealers shouldn’t be hired to operate heavy equipment. But, we can’t judge people by their past behavior so his personal history was excused. And keep in mind there is a growing call to remove criminal background questions on employee applications. AR has posted stories on this.

  • sbuffalonative

    Regardless how you want to split hairs about pot, no one should be under the influence of any mind altering drug while operating machinery. Many people say pot isn’t as bad as drinking. Both impair judgment and reaction time. We’re going to have to wait for the data to come in about car accidents involving pot and I for one believe we’re going to see increasing numbers of pot related fatalities when people become more comfortable smoking pot openly.

  • sbuffalonative

    Yes, there’s a growing movement to do away with asking about criminal background in hiring.

  • sbuffalonative

    Mandated quotas and pressure from advocacy groups.

  • KenelmDigby

    You think about how many good, White men are out of work in the USA, and yet the job is given to someone who looks like that – someone no rational person would put in charge of a broom-handle.

  • Lop_Eared_Galoot

    It’s tragic because the guy probably didn’t know better as marijuana has so long been liberally touted a ‘victimless’ drug, less dangerous than say alchohol in it’s effects. The evidence for which is based on thirty year old studies in which the THC active content was up to 200% less than for modern, ‘designer’, follow-ons grown in the rich soils of America’s NW.
    The reality being that at these much higher levels, incapacitation is assured and coming down from the tweek can often lead to violent bursts of rage-behavior, precisely the opposite of what the drug’s soporific ‘harmlessness’ asserts. Over time, the most insidious factor of marijuana use is inherent to it’s effects on the Histones which act like the third wire around which is wound the lengths of cellular DNA/RNA helix. The cannibanoids effect the lengths and chemical contact site attachments of the histonic strands such the cell damage is assured and becomes cumulative until functional regeneration and replacement becomes impossible as the genes literally do not match up, side to side.
    I frankly do not know what this nation is coming to when (in Denver) possession of this stuff is not even illegal anymore and yet we hire people who have clear addiction problems (sellers are often users trying to pay for their habit) that can severely effect their judgment (multiple convictions = low social inhibition instincts as ‘good sense’).
    All that said, the truth I see is one of bureaucracy chasing inefficiency with a money. Knowing that inefficiency will always let them catch up.
    Instead of attacking the blame side of the problem, let’s attack the _direct causation_.
    Knowing the types of people who patronize such places, I doubt seriously if this Salvation Army Store is in a suburban area which mean that it is likely, largely, empty at night.
    It would be relatively easy to create an exclusion zone as ‘construction hazard’ condition by which all demo would have to be completed after hours or ‘in a single day’ as a function of falling debris hazards from which the public could be protected by simply not being allowed into the area.
    If anyone has seen ‘I Robot’, the scenario is similar to that of the robotic machine demolisher and would require minimal active supervision as bureaucratic oversight, simply because the flashers, the noise and THE LAW could make it clear that your presence at an early funeral was only required if you died being stupid.
    I am very sorry for the victims and their families but I see entirely too much mindlessness here as pursuit of ambulance chasing reactive punishment of society as wasted oversight money rather than proactive reduction of the causative agencies for the ACTUAL PROBLEM.

  • me


  • me

    Yup. The Marxist church of the poisoned mind….

  • gregCall

    This incident occurred simply because of the inherent inability of low IQ individuals to properly perform simple operations. As has been said, just a look at the person responsible for the collapse should adequately explain why it happened.

    The Article leading with the assertion that the operator was “high” is simply a red herring to distract from the simple fact that he was a incompetent black, probably an affirmative action hire and from his record, was obviously a low IQ (even for black) individual, who had no business operating heavy machinery.

    The statement that he had marijuana in his system is really stupid. Even if you’re someone who has never used marijuana and believe it affects your perceptions or had/eye coordination negatively, That’s not even relevant.

    What I mean is unlike a breathalyzer for alcohol a toxicology report only shows that he has used marijuana over the last 14 days, not that he was under any supposed influence of it at the time of the collapse.

    So the dope reference was a red herring to draw attention away from the actual problem which was simply his race and the inherent drawbacks associated with it.

  • Pelagian

    Meanwhile, how much do you want to bet the inspector who feels indirectly responsible so much so that he just killed himself … is white?