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July 03, 2024

Pa. Supreme Court clears way for new trial against former Philly detective

Robert Redanauer was charged with assault after threatening two people at gunpoint. He was acquitted in an unusual decision.

Courts Police Brutality
070324 pa supreme court.jpg Bill Oxford/Unsplash

Robert Redanauer was suspended and ultimately fired from the Philadelphia police in 2021 after he was arrested.

A former Philadelphia police detective may soon return to court over the assault charges which led to his termination.

Robert Redanauer was acquitted in 2021 on charges stemming from an off-duty incident in which he allegedly threatened two people with a gun. But on Monday, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court sent the case back to Court of Common Pleas. Prosecutors must now determine if there is enough evidence to go to trial.

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The complicated and extraordinary case began in April 2021, when the Philadelphia police's internal affairs division arrested Redanauer for simple assault, terroristic threats and other related crimes. He had allegedly pulled a gun on two brothers during an off-duty argument inside their mother's home in late December 2020. Upon Redanauer's arrest, then-Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw also placed him on a 30-day suspension with intent to fire him.

The ex-detective appeared before the Court of Common Please on July 15, 2021. Though, as the Inquirer reported at the time, the attorneys and judge initially described the proceedings as a preliminary hearing, Redanauer's lawyer later argued on a procedural technicality that a trial had just taken place. Judge James Murray Lynn accepted his argument and declared the defendant not guilty.

Nearly three years of appeals followed. During that time, Judge Lynn retired. Now, the process is set to start anew with the higher court's ruling.

Philadelphia D.A. Larry Krasner called that ruling "important and just" in a statement issued Wednesday. Calling the defense's argument "bizarre," he praised the Pennsylvania Supreme Court for rejecting a "justice system that operates unequally, like a caste system."

"My administration fully intends to bring this case back for a preliminary hearing soon and pursue evenhanded justice, just as we do in all cases," he concluded.

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