Two Philadelphia police officers are being charged with the assault of a man in May 2013 that was caught on surveillance and reporting a false account of the incident.
According to ABC 6, officers Kevin Robinson and Sean McKnight have been charged with Aggravated Assault, Simple Assault, Criminal Conspiracy, Recklessly Endangering Another Person, Tampering with Public Records or Information, False Reports to Law Enforcement Authorities, Obstructing Administration of Law, and Official Oppression.
A surveillance video (below) of the incident appears to show a police car crashing into Najee Rivera, who was riding on a motor scooter.
Williams claims the officers told the Philadelphia Police Department that Rivera was injured because he fell off his scooter. The officers allegedly claimed that Rivera tried to grab a police baton, so one of the cops struck him in the face.
“He never resisted. He never struck them. He never fought back. They just started hitting him,” said Williams.
Williams stated, “[O]ur system here works,” however, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey admitted that his force didn’t search the area after Rivera’s arrest.
The police department failed to track down the video and allowed criminal charges – resisting arrest and aggravated assault – to be pressed against Rivera.
Those charges were only dropped because Rivera’s girlfriend worked to obtain the surveillance video from a nearby store.
Commissioner Ramsey insisted that the two officers do not represent his force, and added, “But I cannot stand here and say I’ve got 6,500 police officers that always operate within the framework of the law, within the framework of department policy. We’ve got to root them out,” noted Philly.com.
Officers Robinson and McKnight have been suspended for 30 days in the first step of a termination process.
“It is painful, it is embarrassing, it does bring a lot of issues that you see across the country,” Commissioner Ramsey told reporters. “But sometimes in order to get healed, you have to withstand a little bit of pain.”
Rivera suffered a fractured orbital bone and numerous lacerations on his face; Commissioner Ramsey was not injured.