Philadelphia police inspector, former detective charged in alleged off-duty assault

A Philadelphia police inspector and a former detective are facing charges after they allegedly assaulted a man with Asperger’s syndrome they wrongly accused of breaking into cars while they were both off-duty last summer, District Attorney Larry Krasner said Thursday.

Inspector James Smith and former Det. Patrick Smith were arrested on Thursday morning and charged with simple assault and related offenses, according to Krasner.

An internal affairs investigation found that on Aug. 19 the Smith brothers followed the 27-year-old victim in a car and stopped him in the parking lot of a shopping center near Fairhill Road and Knights Road. Krasner said the men were in plainclothes when they identified themselves as "town watch" then chased the victim on foot.

When they caught up to the victim Krasner said they pushed him into a wall and forced him to the ground. The victim, who has Asperger’s syndrome, suffered a black eye and cuts, according to police.

Krasner said when the victim's father arrived at the shopping center where the Smiths again falsely identified themselves as "town watch."

Det. Smith retired from his position in early September, after the Philadelphia Police Department launched an internal affairs investigation. Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw, who said James Smith was on long-term injured on-duty status during the incident, has been suspended for 30-days with intent to dismiss. 

"The charges against Inspector James Smith are disturbing, and allege behavior that is in stark contrast to everything that society expects of its police officer," Outlaw said. "We cannot allow the actions of a few to tarnish the reputations of the overwhelming majority of our officers that discharge their duties with integrity."



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