The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office has charged a city police officer
with official oppression and other crimes for allegedly placing an Iraq War veteran in the back of his squad car after an encounter that started with comments about the cop making an illegal U-turn.
The office of District Attorney Seth Williams said it brought charges against Officer Kevin Corcoran of official oppression, false imprisonment and obstructing administration of law following the results of a joint investigation by the District Attorney’s Special Investigations Unit and the Philadelphia Police Department’s Internal Affairs Division.
Corcoran, who reportedly has been the subject of numerous lawsuits alleging excessive force and other improper acts while on the job, is accused of retaliating against a group of people who had been congregating on the sidewalk near 13th and Lombard Streets in Philadelphia late last March.
One of the bystanders made a comment about Corcoran making an illegal U-turn, prompting the officer to exit his vehicle and begin yelling at the group, according to the prosecutor’s office.
Some of the people then began videotaping the incident on their cellphones, which led to Corcoran slapping the phone from the hand of one group member and telling the man to “Don’t [expletive] touch me,” according to the District Attorney’s Office.
The officer then continued advancing toward the man, who held his hands up at the time and made no contact with Corcoran, prosecutors contend.
Nevertheless, Corcoran pushed the man, grabbed him by the chest, threw him against the side of the police vehicle, handcuffed him and threw him into the back of the car.
The officer then sped off with the victim in the back seat.
The incident was reportedly caught on videotape.
Meanwhile, Corcoran drove the man to an unknown back street, with the man asking why he was being arrested.
Corcoran reportedly said it was for public intoxication.
Corcoran never prepared the proper paperwork for an arrest, however, and investigators ultimately determined that there was no evidence the victim had been intoxicated at the time.
It was even determined that Corcoran was driving the man in the opposite direction of the police station.
Corcoran finally let the man go after the victim said he had never been arrested before and that he was a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
The entire incident took about 16 minutes, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
Corcoran turned himself into the police department’s Internal Affairs Division Wednesday morning.
The Philadelphia Inquirer identified the victim as Roderick King, a Montgomery County native who has since left the state because he reportedly no longer felt safe here.
The paper further reported that Corcoran, a nine-year veteran of the force, has been sued four times in civil court for excessive force, with the City of Philadelphia twice settling for undisclosed amounts.
According to the Inquirer, the police department on Wednesday suspended Corcoran with intent to dismiss.