Philadelphia dismisses 5 police officers

PHILADELPHIA - April 23, 2009 Philadelphia police commissioner Charles Ramsey fired five officers today, including a 14 year veteran of the force.

FOP officials tell Action News they are filing grievances with all 5 dismissals.

Sergeant Paul Seeger was dismissed after being charged with misdemeanors for allegedly threatening other officers.

Officer John Safarowicz is charged with more serious crimes, felonies, for allegedly entering a home and assaulting the person inside.

Safarowicz's wife spoke to Action News and says her husband didn't do it.

She also says the department acted before giving him or the other officers due process

"The commissioner has decided he doesn't care what our justice system is based on, which is innocent until proven guilty; that's why she wears the blindfold. The commissioner has decided that they are guilty until proven innocent. He has not spoken with my husband, he has not heard my husband's side of the story," Colleen Safarowicz said.

Ramsey says officers Anthony Ferriola and Donald Swan used racial epithets toward students at Audenreid High School.

William Thrasher also allegedly made racial slurs, while interviewed by a student journalist.

The Mayor has released this statment:

"When allegations of police misconduct are made, we are always cautious not to rush to judgment. Instead, Commissioner Ramsey rightfully conducts full, thorough and timely investigations before making any decisions. Several recent investigations have concluded and today's action to suspend with the intent to dismiss indicates that when wrongdoing has occurred, action is taken swiftly and decisively."

Here's the release from the Philadelphia Police Department:

"Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey has given five sworn members of the Philadelphia Police Department thirty days suspensions with the intent to dismiss, for their conduct and actions during the following incidents:

"Sergeant Paul Seeger, assigned to the 25th District, 14 year veteran of the Department
On September 19, 2008, Sergeant Paul Seeger became involved in a domestic dispute, while off-duty, with members of his family, at his residence. Uniform police from the 7th Police District responded to the disturbance, and during the incident Seeger was alleged to have made verbal threats toward the uniformed officers and supervisor. On 4-23-2009, the District Attorney charged Seeger with terrorist threats (M1) and disorderly conduct (M3).

"Police Officer John Safarowicz, assigned to the 39th District, 11 year veteran of the Department
On September 21, 2008, Police Officer John Safarowicz, while off-duty, was alleged to have identified himself as a police officer and pushed his way into a residence, on the 4100 block of Merrick Street. While Safarowicz was inside the residence, it is further alleged that Safarowicz threatened and assaulted the occupant(s). On 4-23-2009, John Safarowicz was charged with burglary (F1), criminal trespass (F2), terroristic threats (M1), simple assault (M2), recklessly endangering another person (M2), official oppression (M2), and criminal mischief (s).

"Police Officer Anthony Ferriola, assigned to the 17th District, 3 year veteran of the Department
Police Officer Donald Swan, assigned to the 17th District, 4 year veteran of the Department

On March 13, 2009, Police Officers Donald Swan and Anthony Ferriola responded to a disturbance inside Audenried High School located at 3301 Tasker Street. Philadelphia Police Internal Affairs Division investigated an allegation that while the officers were at the school they used racial epithets toward students, during the incident. On 4-23-2009, Officers Swan and Ferriola were charged with departmental violations due to their conduct during this incident, and both given thirty day suspensions with the intent to dismiss.

"Police Officer William Thrasher, assigned to the 22nd District, 2 year veteran of the Department
On January 30, 2009, Police Officer Thrasher conducted a ride-a-along with a Temple University student journalist. During that ride-a-along it was alleged that Officer Thrasher made racial comments and slurs, which were posted on Temple University's School of Communications and Theater's website. The Philadelphia Police Internal Affairs Division investigated the allegations and Thrasher was charged with departmental violations for his conduct. Effective 4-23-2009, the Police Commissioner has given Thrasher thirty days suspension with the intent to dismiss for his conduct on January 30, 2009."

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