PHILADELPHIA (WTXF) - Two former SEPTA Transit Police Officer have surrendered to police after they were both charged in the alleged assault of a man late last year.
When a SEPTA train pulled into the Frankford Transportation Center in December 2017 and a 28-year-old rider stepped off the train, he got more than he bargained for. Police say he got a beating by two young SEPTA police officers.
“Every cop’s not bad, but when these kind of cops show up and do these types of things, they’re no different than any criminal in this city,” SEPTA rider Eric Gibson told FOX 29 Thursday.
It happened around midnight. The admittedly intoxicated rider dropped his glasses onto the tracks as he exited the train. When he went down on the tracks to retrieve them, then climbed back up onto the platform, he was met by five SEPTA officers, including Officers David Simcox and Jonathan Lanciano.
“They immediately grabbed the male off the tracks and proceeded to punch him, unprovoked and unsolicited,” SEPTA Inspector, Jahlee Hatchett of the Internal Affairs Unit told FOX 29.
Investigators say Simcox and Lanciano took the rider to the ground and repeatedly punched him in the face and head area. The rider ended up in the hospital with a broken nose, a concussion, lacerations and a shoulder injury. The officers were not hurt.
“There was no information and no video revealing that the male posed a threat, punched or struck any of the officers at that time,” Hatchett said.
SEPTA investigators say the incident was caught on tape and uncovered in a routine review of the officers use of force.
“We reviewed station video. We also looked at their body worn cameras,” Hatchett added.
“It was caught on tape. You can’t refute a tape, right?” Gibson said.
SEPTA riders praised SEPTA’s investigation and the decision to terminate and prosecute the two officers.
“We promote our city as the City of Brotherly Love, but we have police officers who don’t understand a night on the town can sometimes turn into these situations,” Gibson explained.
“If you want to help the man back up and then lock him up, but to pick him up and beat him up, hey, that’s a charge there,” said SEPTA rider Tayon Whiting.
“Every cop’s not bad, that’s not what I’m saying. But, these particular individuals, they hid behind the badge to do dirty work,” said Gibson.
The two officers were terminated back in February after SEPTA’s Internal Affairs review. They surrendered April 12 and were charged, then released on bail.
Criminal charges filed against the victim were dropped by the District Attorney’s Office for lack of evidence.