A Philadelphia police officer is facing aggravated assault charges after widely shared videos caught him striking a college student on the head with a metal baton, the Philadelphia District Attorney announced Friday.
Philadelphia Police Staff Inspector Joseph Bologna was seen in the videos using his metal police baton to strike a 21-year-old Temple University student, Evan Gorski, in the head and arrest him while he was participating in a protest against police brutality on Monday.
Gorski suffered "serious bodily injury," including a large head wound that required around 10 staples and 10 sutures, District Attorney Larry Krasner said in a press release.
Philly police attempt to disperse crowd after hundreds mased/gassed on Parkway. This was @ 5:30 as curfew nears. Dude w/ white shirt provokes scuffle, shoves baton into civilian’s throat. #phillyprotest #blacklivesmatter #GeorgeFloydprotests #protests2020
I filmed this yesterday in #Philadelphia. For those of you who don't trust media, here it is from someone who isn't media. A peaceful #GeorgeFloydprotest. #Police arrived & beat #protesters. The stories are true, this is happening. https://t.co/l4ajxykY0K #GeorgeFloyd #protest
Gorski was arrested at the scene and detained for more than 24 hours for allegedly assaulting an officer, his attorney told the Philadelphia Inquirer. Krasner said that after reviewing video and other evidence, he declined to charge the student.
"Instead, Inspector Bologna will face prosecution for his role in the incident," Krasner said in his statement.
Bologna is facing charges of aggravated assault, simple assault, possession of an instrument of crime, and recklessly endangering another person.
The videos shows Bologna — wearing a white shirt and sunglasses — grab Gorski as the student is trying to intervene between other officers and a protester.
Bologna is then seen striking Gorski's head with his baton and tackling him to the ground, after which another officer places his knee on the back of Gorski's head and neck for a few seconds.
Bologna was taken off street duty and handed in his gun on Thursday, the Inquirer reported.
"This moment demands a swift and evenhanded response to violent and criminal acts based on the facts and evidence," Krasner said in a statement. “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."
Philadelphia's Fraternal Order of Police union said in a statement that it would "vigorously defend" Bologna against "these baseless allegations."
The union described Bologna as one of the city's "most decorated and respected" police leaders.
"He was engaged in a volatile and chaotic situation with only milliseconds to make a decision," the union said.
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