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June 08, 2020

Philly FOP members applaud Inspector Joseph Bologna as he surrenders on assault charges

The police union is selling T-shirts to support the high-ranking cop seen in video striking a protester in the head with a baton

Investigations Police
Bologna charged PPD Thom Carroll/for PhillyVoice

Philadelphia Police Inspector Joesph Bologna Jr. turned himself in to police on Monday. Bologna is charged with aggravated assault for striking a Temple University student in the head with a baton during last week's protests. The incident was caught on video.

Philadelphia Police Staff Inspector Joseph Bologna Jr. was met by a crowd of supporters Monday morning as he surrendered on charges of aggravated assault and other offenses stemming from videos recorded last week showing him hitting a protester with a police baton.

The group, many of them police officers with FOP Lodge #5, applauded Bologna as he left the police union headquarters on his way to turn himself in at the 15th District station, accompanied by FOP president John McNesby .

Amid last week's protests, Bologna was recorded striking a man in the head with his baton. The person, later identified as 21-year-old Temple University student Evan Gorski, suffered injuries that required staples and sutures.

Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner filed charges against Bologna on Friday.

“We are trying to be fair. Accountability has to be equal," Krasner said. "This moment demands a swift and evenhanded response to violent and criminal acts based on the facts and evidence," District Attorney Krasner continued. "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."

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said she was not privy to all of the information in Krasner's investigation, but also said an internal affairs investigation of Bologna's conduct will continue separate from the D.A.'s prosecution.

"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," Outlaw said.

McNesby had said he was "disgusted" to learn Bologna, a 31-year veteran of the police department, had been charged.

"Once again, Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner has rushed to judgment in filing these criminal charges without a complete and thorough investigation," McNesby said. "These charges clearly illustrate Krasner's anti-police agenda in Philadelphia."

On Sunday. the FOP's social media accounts were promoting the sale of T-shirts for $20 to support Bologna. And a GoFundMe campaign started by another police officer raised more than $23,000 by Monday morning.

Temple University president Richard Englehart said the college will not sever its ties with the Philadelphia Police Department, despite calls to do so. Englert added, in the statement released Sunday, that the school is "extremely disturbed by the violent treatment" of Gorski, and the school has been in contact with him since.

The university's statement also addressed racist social media posts being made by current and incoming Temple students.

A review of Bologna's history in the Philadelphia Police Department reveals a 2014 citation for "failure to supervise" narcotics officers who were accused of lying and theft under his charge. After his reassignment to a tactical squad in West Philadelphia, his crew received numerous complaints of misconduct.

The charges against Bologna came amid a week of protests demanding justice for George Floyd, the 46-year-old black man who died in the custody of Minneapolis police on May 25 after an officer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes. The incident was caught on video and all four police officers at the scene were fired by the department. Derek Chauvin has been charged with second degree murder and manslaughter, while the other three officers are charged with aiding and abetting. 

Floyd's death has inspired demonstrations and protests across the United States, some of which have resulted in tense confrontations between police and protesters. Regarding incidents in Philadelphia, Outlaw said questionable uses of force will be referred to the department's Internal Affairs division for review.