By Julia Asby
PHILADELPHIA, PA – Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner has filed criminal charges against Philadelphia Police Dept Inspector James Smith and former Det. Patrick Smith for the assault of a 27 year old man with Asperger syndrome that occurred in Summer 2020.
Both James Smith and Patrick Smith were off duty and allegedly described themselves as Town Watch. They reportedly pursued the victim on foot and shoved him into a wall before pushing him to the ground that resulted in injuries, including a black eye and cuts on the victim’s elbows, knees and the back of his head.
The victim, while running away, called his mother who heard a voice say “hold his legs” before the phone line went dead.
The complainant’s mother tracked the phone using a cell phone app and discovered he was located at the shopping center where the assault occurred. The victim’s father rushed to the scene where James Smith and Patrick Smith identified themselves as Town Watch.
An investigation was initiated by the Philadelphia Police Internal Affairs which resulted in their arrest. District Attorney Krasner said that the victim’s Asperger syndrome may have resulted in him struggling “to communicate his distress and fear” and that the actions of Det. Smith and Investigator Smith involve “vigilantism and brutality against civilians, which cannot be tolerated in the City of Philadelphia.”
Furthermore, DA Krasner describes how the defendants’ claims that the victim “was involved in the thefts from vehicles in the area” as well as “the victim’s injuries were caused by a trip and fall” were not corroborated by the internal investigation.
Both men are charged with Simple Assault, Conspiracy, and Recklessly Endangering Another person. The case will be prosecuted by the Special Investigations Unit.
Julia Asby is a third year student at UC Davis majoring in Political Science with a minor in Sociocultural Anthropology. She is originally from Sacramento.
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