The Justice Wire
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The Justice Wire

District Attorney Krasner, Police Commissioner Outlaw Announce Arrest & Charges for Assault of Journalist & Companion in Fishtown

CONTACT:
Jane Roh, District Attorney’s Office, 215–686–8711, Jane.Roh@phila.gov

PHILADELPHIA (June 25, 2020) District Attorney Larry Krasner and Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw on Thursday announced that Conspiracy Aggravated Assault and related charges have been filed against George Graf (DOB: 10/5/1983) of Philadelphia for his role in the beating of a journalist and assault of a woman companion during a confrontation in the Fishtown section of the city on June 1, 2020.

Graf is alleged to have been part of a group of individuals who posted outside of the 26th Police District, some of whom wielded bats, clubs, and other items during a confrontation with Black Lives Matter protesters. A number of physical assaults and threats of violence were reported at the scene and posted on social media, and members of the public have submitted dozens of complaints, along with video and photo evidence, to the District Attorney’s Office (DAO) Special Investigations Unit.

Video and photographic evidence, along with eyewitness interviews, helped Philadelphia Police and District Attorney’s Office investigators identify Graf as a co-conspirator in an assault on the evening of June 1st involving the two complainants. He will be charged with one count of Criminal Conspiracy to Engage in Aggravated Assault (F1), one count of Criminal Conspiracy to Engage in Simple Assault (M2), and two counts each of Simple Assault (M2) and Recklessly Endangering Another Person (M2).

The first complainant, an off-duty journalist, was filming interactions between anti-racism protesters and groups of individuals who claimed to be defending the police and neighborhood. Graf is alleged to have followed the first complainant before asking more than once why he was filming the scene. That interaction is captured on video.

Surveillance video shows Graf following one complainant as he moves through a crowd. Further video evidence shows Graf pointing at the complainant before motioning two times to a group of individuals to follow the off-duty journalist.

During a physical altercation that ensued, the journalist was punched multiple times while on the ground, resulting in a broken nose, fractured maxilla, and other injuries. The second complainant was pushed into trash cans while attempting to intervene, resulting in sustained minor bruising. No arrest was made at the scene, despite a large police presence in the vicinity.

“I want to thank my office’s Special Investigations Unit for working non-stop to ensure that individuals who intimidated, harassed, or assaulted peaceful protesters and mere bystanders are identified correctly and brought to justice,” District Attorney Krasner said. “You don’t get to call yourself a ‘vigilante’ when you are just committing crimes. You don’t get to say you are defending, when you are initiating violence. I want to thank all of the brave Philadelphians who have come forward in recent weeks to share photo and video evidence with my Special Investigations Unit. We know there are more perpetrators of violence to be identified and brought in. Keep it coming.”

The volume of calls and emails to the DAO Special Investigations Unit has increased nearly 300% since daily anti-racism demonstrations throughout the city began on Saturday, May 30th. City leaders including Police Commissioner Outlaw and District Attorney Krasner have denounced threatening, harassing, and assaultive behavior toward protesters during several incidents across the city including in Fishtown and Marconi Plaza in South Philly.

Commissioner Outlaw said: “Our partnership with the Office of the District Attorney in the investigation, arrest, and impending prosecution of George Graf, for a senseless assault that occurred on June 1, 2020, in Fishtown, magnifies that we have been clear and consistent in that vigilantism and the taking of the law in one’s own hands will not be tolerated. In collaboration with our partner law enforcement agencies, we will continue to vigorously investigate assaults and other acts of lawlessness that have been committed, and will bring to justice those persons responsible.”

Complaints regarding criminal activity should be reported to the Philadelphia Police by calling 911 or to the DAO Special Investigations Unit by calling 215–686–9608 or emailing DAO_SIU@phila.gov.

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The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office is the largest prosecutor’s office in Pennsylvania, and one of the largest in the nation. It serves the more than 1.5 million citizens of the City and County of Philadelphia, employing 600 lawyers, detectives, and support staff. The District Attorney’s Office is responsible for prosecution of approximately 40,000 criminal cases annually.

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Philadelphia DAO

Philadelphia DAO

The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office is committed to seeking fair and equal justice for 1.5 million residents, while upholding Constitutional rights.