A Philadelphia police officer is facing criminal charges for stalking and harassing a woman he dated several years ago. He has been suspended from the force and will likely be fired if the charges go anywhere.
Philadelphia Police Officer in Hot Water for Stalking Ex-Girlfriend
The officer was a 25-year veteran on the Philadelphia police force when he was arrested on October 16 by the Philadelphia Police Internal Affairs Division. He had been under investigation by the Internal Affairs Division for several months, stemming from reports of stalking and harassment spanning the spring and the summer of 2019.
The alleged victim of the harassment was apparently an ex-girlfriend. The officer had dated her in 2015 and 2016. She claims that the officer has been harassing him since the breakup, saying that he drives by her house regularly and yells at her.
The officer has been put on a 30-day suspension. The Philadelphia Police Department has also issued an intent to dismiss notification for when the suspension ends.
Protection from Abuse (PFA) Orders
Initially, one of the most surprising things about the situation is how long the ex-girlfriend says the abuse lasted. From the early indicators – and this is limited to the news stories about the arrest, which are prone to error and often leave out important facts – the officer and the woman dated in 2015 and 2016. Nevertheless, the alleged harassment includes conduct that apparently happened as recently as this summer.
It makes one wonder why the woman didn't file for a protection from abuse order or a PFA. PFA orders are Pennsylvania's version of a restraining order. They are court orders that a particular person stops interacting with or communicating with a certain someone else.
PFA orders are quick and easy to get in an emergency and are designed to be extended if a judge decides the alleged victim or their children are in danger of abuse after a PFA hearing.
The Problem of Invoking Rights Against a Police Officer
The decision not to pursue a PFA gets easier to understand when you remember that the person the woman is accusing of stalking and harassing her is a police officer. Some of the most important aspects of a PFA order involve police work, like when the person named in the PFA is violating the terms of the order. Knowing that enforcing a PFA would require police to act against one of their own would make anyone have second thoughts about pursuing one.
Criminal Defense in Philadelphia With Joseph D. Lento
Joseph D. Lento is a criminal defense lawyer in Philadelphia who represents people who are both the targets and the beneficiaries of PFA orders and domestic violence. He knows and understands the practical and very real problems that come with trying to get the law to protect you when you need it, most.
If you want to file for a PFA order, Joseph D. Lento can help. Contact him online or call his Philadelphia law office at (215) 535-5353 for the legal guidance and support you need.