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April 25, 2016

Suspect arrested in killing of man at center of Philly police brutality case

Khalil Henderson, 23, arrested and charged in Kensington shooting of Najee Rivera

Arrests Homicide
042516_HendersonRivera Source/Philadelphia Police Department

Khalil Henderson, 23, is charged with murder and related offenses in the December 2015 shooting of 23-year-old Najee Rivera.

The Philadelphia Police Department announced Monday that a suspect has been arrested in the fatal shooting of 23-year-old Najee Rivera, whose beating at the hands of two Philadelphia police officers in 2013 became a lightning rod in run up to a trial that resulted in their acquittal earlier this month.

According to police, 23-year-old Khalil Henderson is charged with murder and related offenses in the shooting of Rivera at C and Somerset streets in Kensington on Dec. 5, 2015. Rivera was shot in the stomach and transported to Temple Hospital in critical condition. He died two weeks later.

Henderson, of North Philadelphia, had been listed among the police department's Most Wanted suspects. Witnesses to the shooting in Kensington said that Rivera was shot while attempting to break up a fight. His death prevented him from testifying in the case against former Philadelphia police officers Kevin Robinson and Sean McKnight.

In May 2013, Robinson and McKnight pulled Rivera over as he rode his scooter in the Fairhill section of North Philadelphia. The officers claimed he ran a stop sign and refused to comply with their commands, but Rivera's girlfriend later obtained surveillance footage from a nearby barbershop that put the veracity of the official police report into question.

At the time, the incident cost Rivera his job at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. He sued the city and was awarded $200,000 in compensation. When the surveillance video emerged, Robinson and McKnight were suspended and later dismissed from the police department.

On April 10, a jury in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas found the officers not guilty on charges of aggravated assault, simple assault, conspiracy and related offenses.