News & Politics

Philly Cops Salute Officer Charged With Beating a Student at Protest

FILE - In this Sept. 15, 2017 file photo, police line up as protesters gather, in St. Louis, after a judge found Jason Stockley, a white former St. Louis police officer, not guilty of first-degree murder in the death of Anthony Lamar Smith, a black man, who was fatally shot following a high-speed chase in 2011. Democratic Alderwoman Megan Ellyia Green, who joined the protests after Stockley was acquitted of murder last year in the shooting of Smith, is suing police response to the demonstrations. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)

When Staff Inspector Joseph Bologna of the Philadelphia police department left union headquarters yesterday to turn himself in after being charged with aggravated assault, his fellow officers and police supporters clapped and cheered. Bologna is charged with severely beating a student protesting the death of George Floyd in police custody.

A video of the incident involving Bologna and the student shows a chaotic situation. The students apparently refused an order to disperse. Some of the students advanced toward the police. Bologna can be seen grabbing one student while another one lunged at him. Bologna swung his baton once, striking the student in the head and then subdued him.

Sitting in my comfortable chair running and rerunning the video, it’s easy to determine that the police could have handled the situation better, that they may have overreacted, that Bologna may have mistaken the young man lunging forward to help his friend as an attack on him.

But Inspector Bologna didn’t have that luxury.

BuzzFeed:

The FOP said it would “vigorously defend” Bologna against “these baseless allegations” and described him as one of the city’s “most decorated and respected” police leaders.

“He was engaged in a volatile and chaotic situation with only milliseconds to make a decision,” the union said in a statement on Friday.

The union is also selling T-shirts in support of Bologna that read “Bologna Strong.”