Jane Roh, District Attorney’s Office, 215–686–8711, Jane.Roh@phila.gov
PHILADELPHIA (June 5, 2020) — District Attorney Larry Krasner on Friday announced he is filing Aggravated Assault and related charges against Philadelphia Police Staff Inspector Joseph Bologna for an incident involving a student who was struck in the head with a metal police baton while exercising his constitutionally protected right to protest injustice last Monday.
Cell phone video captured Inspector Bologna using an ASP (a collapsible metal police baton) to strike the Temple University student in the back of his head while he was participating in a mass demonstration against racism and injustice in the area of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Videos of the interaction quickly went viral and were shared by people across the country.
The Temple student suffered serious bodily injury, including a large head wound that required treatment in a hospital while under arrest, including approximately 10 staples and approximately 10 sutures.
The student was arrested by Philadelphia Police on the scene and was detained for more than 24 hours. He was referred to the District Attorney’s Office (DAO) for prosecution. But upon careful review of video and other evidence, including by District Attorney Krasner himself, the DAO declined to charge the student.
Instead, Inspector Bologna will face prosecution for his role in the incident, District Attorney Krasner announced on Friday. For his role in the incident on Monday, Inspector Bologna faces charges of Aggravated Assault (F1), Aggravated Assault (F2), Simple Assault (M2), Possession of an Instrument of Crime (M1), and Recklessly Endangering Another Person (M2).
Video and photo evidence of violent interactions between law enforcement and protesters have been circulating widely since mass demonstrations against racial injustice began on Saturday. The DAO Special Investigations Unit (SIU), which investigates and prosecutes crimes committed by public officials including law enforcement, has been actively reviewing complaints and video submissions by members of the public and invites more information from the public to assist in getting all of the facts.
“We are trying to be fair. Accountability has to be equal. This moment demands a swift and evenhanded response to violent and criminal acts based on the facts and evidence,” District Attorney Krasner continued. “Americans are taking to the streets to demand a remaking of political, economic, and legal systems that serve the powerful at the expense of citizens’ health, welfare, and lives. There can be no safety or peace without justice. My office will continue to hold people who cause harm to others equally accountable.”
Philadelphians are encouraged to continue submitting complaints about criminal activity and misconduct, including by law enforcement, to the Special Investigations Unit hotline: 215–686–9608.
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.