April 24, 2013: The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office today charged 32-year-old Aquil Byrd with Simple Assault and Official Oppression for an incident that occurred in 2011.
On Sunday, September 25, 2011, Aquil Byrd, who is a Philadelphia Police Officer assigned to the Strike Force Unit, was on-duty patrolling the Puerto Rican Day Festival. Officer Byrd and several other officers responded to the area of Front St. and Clearfield Ave. in Philadelphia to clear a large crowd from the street and sidewalk. While the officers were verbally clearing the crowd in front of a Chinese take-out restaurant, Officer Byrd encountered the complainant. A verbal exchange then occurred between the two men about moving off the street. The complainant is then recorded on surveillance video walking into the restaurant, and approximately 20 seconds later Officer Byrd is seen entering the restaurant as well. Officer Byrd is then seen yelling at the complainant, striking him in the face, and grabbing the complainant by the throat.
The District Attorney’s Special Investigations Unit was referred this case by the Police Department’s Internal Affairs Unit in January of 2013. After a thorough review, it was determined that Officer Byrd did act in a criminal manner and the misdemeanor charges of Simple Assault and Official Oppression were approved. Officer Byrd turned himself into Internal Affairs this afternoon and is currently being processed by police.