PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Two Philadelphia police officers were charged today with the violent beating of a man whom investigators say was innocent.
Officers Sean McKnight and Kevin Robinson are facing several charges for their alleged roles in the incident that occurred in 2013.
According to investigators, the incident began about 10pm on May 29th, 2013, near North 7th and Somerset Streets.
Investigators say McKnight and Robinson pulled over Najee Rivera, who was driving a motor scooter. Rivera became frightened, drove away, and was chased by the officers who, according to investigators, broke procedure by not using their lights and sirens during the pursuit.
Near the 2700 block of North Sixth Street, investigators say, a store’s surveillance camera captured the officers driving up to Rivera and knocking him off his scooter. Investigators say both officers then exited their police car, grabbed and repeatedly struck Rivera with their fists and baton.
Rivera received a fractured orbital bone and numerous lacerations to his head.
While Rivera was at the hospital, investigators say, McKnight and Robinson submitted police paperwork and inaccurate statements to the Philadelphia Police Department by falsely accusing Rivera of assaulting Robinson and resisting arrest.
Initially, Rivera was arrested and charged with aggravated assault and related offenses. Eventually the charges against Rivera were withdrawn after the video evidence of the attack was reviewed by prosecutors.
McKnight and Robinson both face charges of aggravated assault, simple assault, criminal conspiracy, recklessly endangering another person, tampering with public records, making false reports to law enforcement authorities, obstructing the administration of law, and official oppression.
“This type of behavior has absolutely no place in our city, and I will prosecute these two officers to the fullest extent of the law. Simply put, no one –- not even police officers -– is above the law,” said Philadelphia district attorney Williams.”
Philadelphia police commissioner Charles Ramsey suspended both for 30 days with the intent to dismiss.
Both officers surrendered Thursday morning at the Police Internal Affairs Bureau and are now awaiting arraignment.