Delaware County District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer has cleared two decorated officers from Haverford Township Police Department of excessive force accusations, Your Content has learned.
According to the Daily Times, Deputy District Attorney Douglas A. Rhoads indicated in a letter to Haverford Police Chief John Viola Monday that members of the Delaware County Criminal Investigation Division Special Investigations Unit cleared the two officers accused excessive force.
“The use of force in this interaction does not exceed the authority of police officers that has been statutorily provided by the Pennsylvania Crimes Code and court decisions,” Rhoads said in the letter.
The announcement came as a shock to many who remained under the impression that the newly elected Democratic DA, Jack Stollsteimer, was a staunch supporter of Philadelphia DA Larry Krasner — who is regularly accused of siding with criminal defendants over police officers on a daily basis.
“Jack, unlike his predecessors, isn’t a political puppet,” a Haverford cop told Your Content under the condition of anonymity.
“There was word that he’d make an example out of the officers even though there was no wrongdoing. It’s clear as ever now that Stollsteimer isn’t following the path of Krasner and prosecuting cases based on the rule of law rather than a political playbook.”
Haverford Township police chief John Viola told the local paper things would’ve turned deadly had the man taken the officer’s taser.
“We feel they were justified in what they did,” Viola said. “They followed the protocol for the directives within the police department. If somebody is violently resisting, they have to get the person under control. You can’t just walk away. It’s a lawful arrest, it’s just – you’re fighting with an officer, you’re trying to disarm an officer. When you think about it, if he had gotten a Taser and then turned it on one of the officers, it could have gotten really ugly.”
“I understand how people look at this, because they see a portion of the video,” said Chief Viola, adding: “These are never pleasant to look at, but when you take the whole thing in the full context of what happened, the officers were trying to get him under control. He was under lawful arrest and refused to do so. You think to yourself if he was Tased or he was hit in the shins and he continued to fight, what drug is he on, not feeling any pain at all?”
We told you first … the viral video that surfaced on Facebook only shows the aftermath of the incident, where an eye-witness told Philly Mag he had no idea what happened … other than seeing the Broomall man getting tazed and slapped with a baton.
“We have the full body cams video of everything that happened,” Viola told Philly Mag, adding that he cannot release those videos at this time while the Delaware County District Attorney’s office investigates the incident.
Police found Christopher Ricciuti passed out on a nearby bench.
“When we first found him, he was sleeping in the parking lot and not sure where he was,” Viola told the magazine.
When Ricciuti awoke, he was ‘publicly intoxicated.’ Officers asked if the 30-year-old wanted a ride back to his Broomall home but he wasn’t having it.
“This person wasn’t walking. He was running away with one handcuff on.”
“Originally, they were trying to give him a ride home. But he was incoherent. They decided to arrest him for public drunkenness.”
That’s when things went south, according to Chief Viola, who told Philly Mag the tough Marple man continued fleeing despite being tased … twice.
“They got one handcuff on him, and then he ran away. He had been tased twice during the course of this run, but it was having no effect. And then they finally tackled him in the driveway.”
“People are saying, ‘Oh my God! They are beating this guy!’” Viola notes. “But in the greater context, this is just the end result of trying to get him under control. All that aside, we reviewed it and turned it over to the DA’s office.”
“We had the medics there,” Viola says. “But he did not want to go to the hospital.”
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