The news is out: [A Philadelphia police officer turned himself in and will face several charges over an incident seen last month on video in which he doused kneeling protesters with pepper spray during demonstrations in the city over the death of George Floyd.
The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that District Attorney Larry Krasner (D) announced that SWAT officer Richard Nicoletti would face charges of official oppression, simple assault and reckless endangerment, as well as possession of an instrument of a crime. Nicoletti is the second Philadelphia police officer to face charges over conduct towards protesters in recent weeks.
Video of the June 1 incident obtained by the Inquirer shows an officer, apparently Nicoletti, wearing a gas mask and shoving to the ground several protesters who had gathered on Interstate 676 in the city for a demonstration against police brutality. Nicoletti is also seen in the video pulling away a woman’s mask before spraying her in the face with the chemical irritant, and spraying another from a close distance.
“The larger message is that we are restoring trust between communities and the officers who are there to serve them, by making sure everyone understands that this is a city, that this is a country, that still believes in equality,” Krasner said, according to the newspaper. “There’s going to be justice that is even-handed and no longer at the service of politics.”
“‘I was following orders’ is not a defense to commit a crime,” he added at the news conference Wednesday. “That’s, what, the Nuremberg defense? That doesn’t work.”
An attorney representing three people whom Nicoletti was seen hitting with pepper spray in the video told the Inquirer that he had hoped the charges against the officer would be greater.]
The only redress of grievances available for violation of Constitutional rights is a lawsuit. These cops will never be sentenced to jail time.