Two Philadelphia police officers falsified a report after intentionally running over a man on a scooter then severely beating him. The facts only came to light when the man’s girlfriend took it upon herself to investigate the incident and recover surveillance footage.
The cops pulled over 23-year-old Najee Rivera, but the man, fearing for his life, drove off on the scooter, prompting the cops to speed after him, crack him over the head with a club, and drive into him, knocking him off the bike.
The footage shows that officers Kevin Robinson and Sean McKnight then beat Rivera to a bloody pulp as he screamed for help. Officers who arrived on the scene later thought a shooting had occurred due to the amount of blood on the ground.
The cops subsequently charged Rivera with assault, writing in their report that he had lost control of the scooter and fallen off. In a patently false account, the officers also claimed that Rivera resisted arrest and tried to grab a police baton.
Rivera suffered a fractured orbital bone as well as severe bruising and cuts to the head and face. He is lucky to be alive.
Speaking to reporters Thursday, Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams said “The video undermined every aspect of the officers’ account of the incident. A grand jury found none of it was true except for the blows inflicted on Najee Rivera.”
“He never resisted. He never struck them. He never fought back. They just started hitting him,” Williams said.
Remarkably, Williams also stated “Hopefully this case will show Philadelphians that our system here works,” yet it was only the ingenuity of Rivera’s girlfriend that brought the evidence to light.
The officers now face charges of Aggravated Assault, Simple Assault, Criminal Conspiracy, Recklessly Endangering Another Person, Tampering with Public Records or Information, False Reports to Law Enforcement Authorities, Obstructing Administration of Law, and Official Oppression.
The two have been suspended for 30 days, and are then expected to be fired. Rivera has accepted a $200,000 settlement from the city.
Philadelphia police commissioner Charles Ramsey said, “As tough as it is, as painful as it is, not just for me, but for the hardworking men and women of the Philadelphia police department to go out there every day and do the job properly, every one of these people who gets removed from our department brings us a step closer to having the kind of police department that people in this city deserve and that the members of this department who are doing their job the right way deserve to work alongside.”