DA announces assault charges against SEPTA officer related to May 30 unrest in Philadelphia

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Thursday, October 22, 2020
DA announces charges against SEPTA officer in May 30 unrest
Larry Krasner announced charges against a SEPTA police officer for his role in an incident involving two protesters during the spring unrest.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner on Thursday announced aggravated assault and other related charges against a SEPTA police officer for his role in an incident involving two protesters during the unrest on May 30.

According to the DA's office, Sgt. Matthew Sinkiewicz, 36, of Bensalem, hit two protesters multiple times on the head and body with his baton during a demonstration outside of the Municipal Services Building on Saturday, May 30. Sinkiewicz was among the law enforcement officers stationed near the Frank Rizzo statue, which has since been removed by the City of Philadelphia.

RELATED: Fires set, stores damaged as peaceful protests turn violent in Philadelphia

Thousands of people gathered to protest the death of George Floyd, but the peaceful demonstrations later turned violent.

Both protesters who were allegedly struck by Sinkiewicz had to be treated at a hospital, officials said.

The DA's office said paperwork submitted by Sinkiewicz following the incident did not accurately reflect his interaction with the protesters.

RELATED: 6 arrested for vandalizing police vehicles during May 30 unrest in Philadelphia: Police

Sinkiewicz was arrested and charged Thursday with two counts each of aggravated assault causing serious bodily injury, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, simple assault and other related charges.

"The civil disorder that occurred in Philadelphia on May 30 did not take away the responsibility of our member to follow the Transit Police rules and expectations for professional conduct," SEPTA Police Chief Thomas J. Nestel III said. "Our response to resistance must be appropriate, and when it is not, the member will be held responsible."

This case will be prosecuted by the District Attorney's Office Special Investigations Unit.