Philadelphia judge dismisses charges against officers in assault case

DA Krasner says he'll consider all possible avenues for seeking justice.
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A Philadelphia judge dismissed all charges against two former Philadelphia police officers accused of assault.

Former Philadelphia Police Inspector James Smith and his brother, former Detective Patrick Smith, were arrested last April for an alleged assault on a man with Asperger syndrome.

The Philadelphia District Attorney's Office said the pair confronted the man they say was breaking into cars in Northeast Philadelphia in August 2020.

The DA added there's no evidence the victim broke into vehicles.

SEE ALSO: Off-duty officers, who are brothers, accused of assault in Philadelphia: DA
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Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner announced the arrests of Philadelphia Police Inspector James Smith and his brother former Detective Patrick Smith.

The Smiths were off-duty at the time of the incident.

On Tuesday, a judge dismissed the charges against the brothers due to lack of evidence.

DA Larry Krasner issued a statement saying the law applies equally to everyone, adding that he'll consider all possible avenues for seeking justice.

"We are seeing a disturbing pattern of criminal cases against police officers getting charges against them thrown out by judges during the preliminary hearing phase, only to be reinstated on appeal. The law applies equally to everyone. Philadelphians should ask why some judges are finding no accountability at a preliminary hearing for police when they commit the same crimes that get everyone else held over for trial," said Krasner in a statement.

After the charges were dismissed, FOP Lodge #5 President, John McNesby released this statement:

"Once again this was a rush to judgment by our incompetent District Attorney in Philadelphia," said FOP Lodge #5 President, John McNesby. "DA Krasner is only interested in carrying out his anti-police agenda and arresting, innocent Philadelphia police officers with baseless allegations. We will now work to make these officers whole following all their losses."

Attorney Fortunato Perri, Jr., who represents James Smith and whose firm also represents Patrick Smith, said in a statement Tuesday that the charges were dismissed because prosecutors failed to prove a crime was committed. He said both men looked forward to continuing their careers in law enforcement, but it was unclear if either planned to challenge the disciplinary actions related to the charges and seek a return to their jobs.

Patrick Smith retired from the Philadelphia department shortly after the internal affairs investigation began and later went to work as an agent for the gun violence task force run by the district attorney's office and the attorney general's office. He was put on administrative duty with pay for the duration of the case.

Philadelphia Police said James Smith was suspended for 30 days with the department's intention to fire him shortly after the charges were announced.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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