Democratic Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner will pursue charges against an ex-SWAT officer who was accused of pepper spraying protesters in Philadelphia during the summer of 2020, Philly Voice reported.
Krasner vowed to keep the case alive and pursue charges even after its dismissal Monday by Municipal Court Judge William Austin Meehan Jr., NBC 10 Philadelphia reported.
The charges against Richard Paul Nicoletti, the ex-SWAT officer, included simple assault, reckless endangerment and official oppression. Nicoletti was accused of using pepper spray on demonstrators who marched on an interstate highway during protests that intensified during the first summer of the coronavirus pandemic and following George Floyd’s death caused by a now-former police officer.
Nicoletti turned himself in after charges were filed and was initially suspended for 30 days. He was subsequently fired after the suspension, NBC 10 Philadelphia reported.
“I fully intend to vigorously pursue charges in this matter,” Krasner said Monday. “The people want and deserve justice and change, including police accountability, even though some institutional players are in denial. We will stay the course.” (RELATED: Philadelphia Police Union Offers Mr. Softee’s Ice Cream Outside ‘Soft On Crime’ District Attorney’s Office)
Krasner used video evidence and eyewitness testimony that showed Nicoletti spraying protesters, NBC 10 Philadelphia reported. Krasner claimed the spray caused “physical harm, panic, and confusion.”
Katherine Miller was one of the people pepper sprayed by Nicoletti.
“That police officer walked towards us, and that’s actually all I remember. I blacked out,” she said at the time.
John McNesby, the president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5 union in Philadelphia, criticized the actions and rhetoric of Krasner.
“Krasner refuses to hold unlawful protesters accountable, those who set fire and looted our great city … His top priority is to push his anti-police agenda,” McNesby said in a statement, according to NBC 10. “This double-standard of justice is unacceptable to our brave police officers who work tirelessly to keep our city safe.”