Preliminary Hearing For Man Facing Charges In Videotaped Beating Of Philadelphia Park Ranger
By Tim Jimenez
The prosecution wanted to play the 1 minute and 50 second clip of the attack for Judge Nazario Jimenez Jr. Permission was granted and as the video was being viewed by Jimenez, Assistant District Attorney Joseph Whitehead and defense attorney Samuel Di Matteo, the 35-year-old park ranger kept shaking his head and tried to look away.
Authorities say, in the video, the defendant Curtis Tanner is seen beating the ranger down in Love Park on August 15th.
Assistant District Attorney Joseph Whitehead said this was the first time in the ranger’s seven years working in the city, third on Love Park duty, that he feared for his life.
“I don’t think things have gotten so bad in our city that a park ranger should accept a consequence of his job is that he may get pummeled, kicked in the head and spit on.”
The ranger testified he tried to enforce a no skateboarding rule, but Tanner and a few others didn’t listen. Tanner kept talking trash, the ranger said, then attacked him even as he tried to back away.
“Concerned about what it would mean for his job if he actually got into a fistfight or altercation,” Whitehead said.
The defense argues the victim didn’t identify himself as a ranger to Tanner and the others. In his testimony, the ranger said he was wearing his uniform but did not wear his badge that day. Di Matteo also asked the ranger about the severity of his injuries. The victim said he was not badly injured. He said, after the attack, he called his supervisor who urged him to get checked out. The victim said he was evaluated at Roxborough Memorial Hospital after speaking to police about the attack.
Judge Jimenez Jr., at the request of the defense, reduced Tanner’s bail from $250,000 to $10,000. Di Matteo argued that Tanner has never missed an appearance in court. The prosecution requested bail be increased to $350,000 but that was denied. Whitehead argued that Tanner has been arrested six times since April 2013 and that four of the six arrests took place in Montgomery County.
Whitehead also pushed for the felony aggravated assault charge to be bumped up from second to first degree. That was also denied by the judge. Tanner is also charged with simple assault, recklessly endangering another person and making terroristic threats.
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