DOJ Report Criticizes Philadelphia Police Department’s Use of Deadly Force

Originally published on March 25, 2015, at

After experiencing an escalation in police shootings and civil rights lawsuits, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey requested assistance from the Justice Department in 2013 to investigate the rising incidents of officer-involved shootings. On Monday, the Justice Department released its report criticizing the Philadelphia Police Department’s aggressive use of deadly force, lack of transparency, and inadequate training procedures. Marred by a history of misconduct and scandals, Philadelphia police officers have lost both the public’s trust and cooperation.

Conducted by the Department of Justice’s Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Office and written by the nonprofit Virginia-based CNA Corporation, the report issued 48 findings and 91 recommendations for the Philadelphia Police Department (PPD) to reform its deadly force practices. Reviewing hundreds of departmental policies, manuals, and training plans, CNA conducted 164 interviews with community members and department personnel between 2007 and 2013.

During that period, the Justice Department found that 540 PPD officers discharged their firearms in 364 officer-involved shootings. 59% of the officers were white, 34% were black, 7% were Hispanic, and less than 1% of the officers were Asian. The average age of officers involved in shootings was 33 years old.

In contrast, 80% of the suspects were black, 10% were Hispanic, 9% were white, and 1% of the suspects were Asian. The average age of the suspects was 20 years old.

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2 Cops Charged with Aggravated Assault After Video Reveals Savage Beating

Originally published on February 8, 2015, at

Two Philadelphia police officers were arrested this week for assaulting a man then falsely charging him with aggravated assault and resisting arrest. After the suspect’s girlfriend tracked down the surveillance camera that recorded the incident, the charges against the suspect were dropped. The video revealed the officers had lied about the suspect accidentally crashing his motor scooter and brutally attacking them.

Around 10pm on May 29, 2013, Philadelphia police officers Sean McKnight and Kevin Robinson pulled over Najee Rivera after allegedly running a Stop sign on his scooter. As the officers exited their patrol car with batons in hand, Rivera panicked and drove away in fear. The officers chased Rivera but never turned on their lights or siren.

They claimed Rivera lost control of his bike and fell off the scooter a few blocks away. After they exited their vehicle, the officers asserted that Rivera slammed Officer Robinson into a brick wall and began throwing elbows at him. While assaulting Robinson, Rivera allegedly attempted to take Officer McKnight’s baton before they finally subdued him.

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