Charges refiled against Philly police staff inspector accused of assaulting student at protest

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Charges have been refiled against a Philadelphia police officer in connection with an incident involving a Temple University student during the George Floyd protest this past summer.

A spokesperson with the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office confirms that charges have been refiled against Police Staff Inspector Joseph Bologna, 54, who was caught on video striking the student in the head with a baton during the early June 2020 protest on the Ben Franklin Parkway.

"Philadelphians demand evenhanded justice and we are trying our very best to give them exactly that. Our oath to seek justice requires nothing less," said the DA's office in a statement.

Last month, Municipal Court Judge Henry Lewandowski III ruled video of the incident was not enough to prove the officer committed a crime and dismissed simple assault and other related charges against Bologna.

After the video surfaced and spread on social media, the community and fellow officers quickly came to the inspector's defense, saying he was just doing his job in a tense situation.

Officers say they were spit on, sprayed with urine and chemicals as well as verbally and physically assaulted during the protests. Bologna's attorneys say his actions were always lawful and justified.

On Thursday, FOP Lodge #5 President John McNesby says the DA's decision to refile charges is not based on facts or evidence.

"This is not unexpected from a District Attorney, who craves media attention and is facing a primary challenge from inside his own party," said McNesby. "DA Krasner is clearly running away from his failed record over the past three years and this latest decision to re-charge this officer is not based on facts or evidence. We will continue to support and defend Joe Bologna, a highly decorated and respected member of the Philadelphia police department."

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Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner Friday announced he is filing aggravated assault and related charges against Philadelphia Police Staff Inspector Joseph Bologna.

A preliminary hearing is set for March 15, 2021.
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