In June 2020, Philadelphia Staff Inspector Joseph Bologna was charged with aggravated assault, simple assault, possession of an instrument of crime, and recklessly endangering another person by District Attorney Larry Krasner. The charges arose after Bologna was seen in a video striking a protestor with a metal baton.
More specifically, the protestor was a Temple University student who was protesting George Floyd's death, according to The Hill, “peacefully on Benjamin Franklin Parkway” in Philadelphia. Floyd died in police custody in Minneapolis in May. That being said, whether this was in fact the case is still being debated.
The DA claims that the 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 spent a day in police custody before Krasner charged Bologna.
LEO Facing Criminal Charges
Anyone can find themselves on the wrong side of criminal laws, and that includes law enforcement officers (LEO), such as police officers and federal agents. For LEO accused of crimes, the criminal procedure isn't different than that for ordinary citizens facing the same charges. The DA proceeds to gather a case, which may end in a plea deal or trial and could include severe penalties — including lengthy prison time — when all is said and done.
Note that the concept of qualified immunity does protect officers from civil lawsuits seeking damages for alleged excessive use of force as their actions are protected unless “every reasonable official” would know their conduct was violating a “clearly established” constitutional right or if the officer was “plainly incompetent.”
In addition to criminal charges, though, it is likely that the officer will also face an internal investigation. In fact, in the case discussed above, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw announced an internal affairs investigation into the video-recorded incident immediately.
The potential ramifications for a criminal conviction or even a finding of misconduct by the department are incredibly serious and could place the LEO's career, livelihood, and freedom at risk.
If you are a law enforcement officer who has been charged with a crime, it is important to understand all of the potential consequences before you. Contact the Lento Law Firm online or call (888) 535-3686 today to discuss your options.