Philadelphia Police Officer Charged With Assault After Striking Protester With Baton

by Kristine Cannon
Philly officer strikes student

According to the student’s attorney, Evan Gorski suffered ‘serious bodily injury’

After a video showing a Philadelphia police officer striking a student activist on the back of the head with a metal baton went viral, Philadelphia Police Staff Inspector Joseph Bologna has been arrested and charged with aggravated assault. According to NBC News, Bologna was also charged with reckless endangerment and possession of an instrument of crime.

In the video, Bologna can be seen striking 21-year-old Temple University student, Evan Gorski, in the head and tackling him to the ground. Bologna then arrests the student, who was participating in a protest in the area of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway on June 1. Another officer is then seen placing his knee on the back of Gorski’s head and neck for a few seconds.

According to District Attorney Larry Krasner, Gorski suffered “serious bodily injury, including a large head wound that required treatment in a hospital while under arrest, including approximately 10 staples and approximately 10 sutures.”

“It happened in broad daylight, with hundreds if not thousands of people around,” Gorski’s attorney Jonathan Feinberg told NBC Philadelphia. “This officer had to know what he was doing was observable… to everyone who was there, and he did it anyway.”

NBC Philadelphia reported that Gorski is home recovering from his injuries after being in custody for more than 24 hours earlier this week.

Bologna faces charges of aggravated assault, simple Assault, possession of an instrument of crime, and recklessly endangering another person.

The Philadelphia Lodge #5 Fraternal Order of Police said they are “disgusted” to learn of the arrest of Bologna, who they describe as one of their “most decorated and respected police leaders,” and that they will “vigorously defend” Bologna against the charges.

“We are trying to be fair. Accountability has to be equal. This moment demands a swift and evenhanded response to violent and criminal acts based on the facts and evidence,” Krasner said in a statement. “Americans are taking to the streets to demand a remaking of political, economic, and legal systems that serve the powerful at the expense of citizens’ health, welfare, and lives. There can be no safety or peace without justice. My office will continue to hold people who cause harm to others equally accountable.”

“As a Department, we do not condone the criminal acts of any person, and it is my sincere hope that the District Attorney does, in fact, hold all people who cause harm to others equally accountable,” Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said.