By Tony Hanson
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A former-hero Philadelphia police officer who faced several criminal charges has now seen most of them dropped.
It’s a strange twist in a strange odyssey for former officer Richard DeCoatsworth, who had been charged with a long list of crimes including prostitution and human trafficking.
It was alleged that he had raped two women after forcing them at gunpoint to take drugs.
At one point he had pleaded guilty to some of the charges but then withdrew his guilty plea and was awaiting trial.
Now, today, prosecutors have withdrawn all charges in connection with this case. There was no explanation in court, but the prosecution has released a statement saying that after further review they have determined there is not enough evidence to pursue prosecution.
Defense attorney George Parry said simply that two key witnesses in the case against DeCoatsworth, two women, were not credible. He says they had given conflicting and contradictory statements to investigators. As a result, he says, he had a lot of questions prepared for them on cross-examination. He believes that prosecutors thought better of pressing the case, given the potential problems with the witnesses.
DeCoatsworth has been in custody since his arrest on these charges but was released today. He still has one other pending criminal case against him, an allegation of domestic abuse. That case is proceeding, but DeCoatsworth will be free on bail pending its adjudication.
DeCoatsworth rose to acclaim as a rookie in 2007 when he took a shotgun blast to the face during a car stop, but still managed to chase down suspects as they fled. He was honored and invited to an address by President Obama in 2009, where he sat with Michelle Obama.
He retired from the force in 2011 following an incident in which he was accused of using excessive force for shooting a motorcyclist in the leg.