Trial begins for suspect accused of shooting Philadelphia Police officer

CENTER CITY (WPVI) -- The trial of a man charged with shooting a police officer in West Philadelphia at point-blank range two years ago got underway Thursday in a Center City courtroom.

Both the prosecution and defense gave opening statements this morning.

The trial for 32-Year-old Edward Archer opened today with statements from both the prosecution and the defense.

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Shooting suspect on trial: Trish Hartman reports during Action News at Noon on January 25, 2018.

But even before that, as each charge was read, Archer - rather than entering a plea of guilty or not guilty - replied, "I don't plead to anyone but Allah."

Judge Leon Tucker then entered a plea of not guilty.

The prosecution said during the trial, jurors will see video, physical evidence, and hear from witnesses about the night of January 7, 2016.

Officer Jesse Hartnett was shot 3 times while sitting in his patrol car at 60th and Spruce in West Philadelphia.

His left arm was shattered by gunfire, leaving him unable to work as a police officer. Prosecutors say he has had 11 surgeries.

Police said video from the intersection shows Archer approaching the cruiser, charging the driver and firing 13 times. Prosecutors detailed how Hartnett kicked the door of his vehicle open and chased after Archer, firing 7 shots, one of which hit Archer in buttocks. Responding officers then arrested him nearby.

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Surveillance images were released of the shooting of a Philadelphia police officer.

Authorities say Archer would later confess to the shooting, saying he did it in the name of Islam.

The defense, in its opening statement, hailed Officer Hartnett as a hero but asked jurors to put aside sympathy and emotion and focus on the law.

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross was in the courtroom for the start of the trial.

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A Philadelphia Police Officer was shot three times in the arm at 60th and Spruce Streets late Thursday night.

"This is a major trial," Ross told Action News outside the courthouse, "and as was stated inside, the attempted assassination of a Philadelphia Police officer just two days after I was sworn in. So obviously I will never forget it."

Homicide Detective Thurston Lucke took the stand after opening statements. Officer Hartnett is expected to take the stand at some point.

The judge said he expects the trial to last for about two weeks.

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