4 officers to be fired over taped beating

May 19, 2008 8:48:48 PM PDT
The other shoe has dropped for a number of officers involved in that apparent beating earlier this month, including the firing of four of them. Saying that unlike criminals on the street, the police department has rules it has to abide by, Police Commissioner Chuck Ramsey announced his decision to fire four officers and taking action against four others. Predictably, the reaction was mixed.

Commissioner Ramsey said, "We do have a group of officers whose actions were outside of department policy and procedure."

The announcement comes 10 days after officers were seen on videotape kicking and punching 3 men wanted in connection with a triple shooting. 35th District Officers Robert Donnelly and Patrick Whalen were fired outright. Officers Patrick Gallagher and Vincent Strain, also of the 35th district, were suspended for 30 days with intent to dismiss. Sgt. Joseph Shavone was demoted to rank of police officer for failing to take proper action as the first supervisor on the scene. 3 other officers face suspensions ranging from 5 to 15 days.

"Today's announcement represents what I believe is required in this matter: Swift, direct action," Mayor Michael Nutter said Monday.

There are those who argue that the actions were too harsh. F.O.P. President John McNesby reacted by saying, "We are not happy, this is a rush to judgment."

And then there are those, like the lawyer representing one of the three shooting suspects, who believe the officers should already have been criminally charged.

Hopkin's lawyer Scott Perrine said, "The Police Commissioner right now has the authority to have those officers arrested. They committed a crime that took place in Philadelphia and there's a video tape of it."

Meanwhile a group of protestors outside police headquarters vowed to make their voices heard until charges are filed.

The District Attorney's Office and the FBI are still reviewing the case to determine if criminal charges will be filed in connection with the case. The city has also hired a police consultant group to retrain the entire police force on the issue of proper arrest procedure.