Philadelphia cop to be dismissed after arrest video surfaces

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Watch the report from Dann Cuellar on Action News at 11 p.m. on Aug. 4, 2017.

A Philadelphia police officer accused of injuring a man while in custody is off the beat.

26-year-old James Yeagar, a four year veteran of the force, has been suspended for 30 days with intent to dismiss.


An internal investigation was launched when a video surfaced last month of an incident on the 200 block of Elkhart Street in Kensington, which quickly went viral, provoking public outcry.

The video shows officers trying to handcuff a man during a narcotics investigation back on July 10. Police say he was resisting arrest by swinging his arms and kicking.

A second video from a cell phone shows an officer, later identified as Yeagar, slamming the suspect to the pavement.

The officer then picks up the man, swinging him around causing him to strike his head against the side of an above ground swimming pool.

The 21 year old, identified by neighbors as a homeless man named Kevin Rovira or Menor, was taken to Temple University Hospital in critical condition.

Tiara Simmons says she witnessed the incident.

"He almost killed the boy. The boy was not moving, he was handcuffed and they were beating him with the baton two or three of them, it was horrible," she said.

Earlier, the police union had defended Officer Yeagar, saying the three minute video clip didn't paint a full picture. In a statement released Friday, Fraternal Order of Police president John McNesby says: "We look forward to seeing the entire video and we support Officer Yeagar."

But some residents, like Lydia Sanchez, say the officer deserves to be fired.

"The way I saw it, it seems as if it was a senseless beating, you know? The guy was homeless and all of a sudden they come and they beat him up for no reason," said Sanchez.

Jennifer Morales shares the same sentiments.

"I think it's the best thing they can do, and there's a lot of them - more that needs to get fired like ASAP," Morales said. "They need to learn how to respect people to get respect from people, not because they're police we have to respect them, you got to learn and earn respect."

Yeager has been suspended by Police Commissioner Richard Ross for 30 days with intent to dismiss. It remains unclear if he will also be facing criminal charges from the District Attorney's Office.
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