Philly cop who claimed self-inflicted gunshot wound was caused by perp is sued by his own department

Jon Campisi Sep. 27, 2011, 3:42pm

A Philadelphia police officer who made headlines last year after he admitted fabricating a story about being shot by an unidentified suspect, when, in fact, he had shot himself, is being sued by his own department.

The Philadelphia Police Department filed the fraud complaint against Robert Ralston on Sept. 20 at the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.

In April 2010, Ralston, at the time a 21-year veteran of the PPD, told a commanding officer that he had been shot in the left shoulder by a black man as the officer approached the suspect and another individual while on duty, according to the civil action.

Based upon Ralston’s statement, he received worker’s compensation, money that included payments for medical treatment to treat Ralston’s gunshot wound, according to the complaint.

In early May 2010, however, Ralston told a city investigator that his prior statement was false, and that he had actually shot himself in the shoulder, the lawsuit states. Ralston, who held rank of sergeant at the time, was subsequently dismissed from the police department.

As of May 2010, the suit claims, Ralston paid the police department back the money he had accepted as part of the fraud that he had perpetuated.

The lawsuit contains a count of conversion, in which it is alleged that Ralston wrongfully received monies from the police department when he knew he was not entitled to said compensation.

“Defendant Robert Ralston has no lawful justification for accepting monies equaling his full salary and benefits during a period of time that he was injured, when he knew at all times that his injury was self-inflicted,” the complaint states.

The lawsuit contains counts of fraud and unjust enrichment.

The police department seeks judgment against Ralston in the amount of $11,203.09, together with related court costs. The PPD is also seeking punitive and treble damages.

In a May 2010 article in the Philadelphia Inquirer, Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey said Ralston may have engaged in the fraud in order to “get attention” or be transferred out of his district.

Ramsey told the newspaper at the time that the incident represented a “terrible and embarrassing chapter in our history.”

The Philadelphia Police Department had been besieged by internal problems during the past year or so. Numerous officers have been arrested for violations varying from on-the-job drug sales to sexual crimes.

The case number is 110902151.

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