PHILADELPHIA (Feb. 5, 2015) – Philadelphia District Attorney R. Seth Williams, following a lengthy Grand Jury and Police Internal Affairs Division (IAD) investigation, today charged Philadelphia Police Officers Sean McKnight and Kevin Robinson for the beating, in addition to other charges, of Najee Rivera.
“This type of behavior has absolutely no place in our city and I will prosecute these two officers to the fullest extent of the law. Simply put, no one – not even police officers – is above the law,” said District Attorney Williams. “Commissioner Ramsey and his team have been very supportive in this investigation and, like him, I hope these charges send a clear message to every Philadelphian that we intend to use every tool available to us to keep our neighborhoods and communities safe.”
The full list of charges against both officers include: Aggravated Assault, Simple Assault, Criminal Conspiracy, Recklessly Endangering Another Person, Tampering with Public Records or Information, False Reports to Law Enforcement Authorities, Obstructing Administration of Law, and Official Oppression.
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey joined the District Attorney for the announcement.
Around 10 p.m. on May 29, 2013, near North 7th and Somerset Sts., Officers McKnight, a seven year veteran of the force, and Robinson, a six year veteran of the force, both of the 25th Police District pulled over Najee Rivera on his motor scooter. Rivera became frightened, drove away and was chased by the officers who broke procedure by not using their lights and sirens during the pursuit. At the 2700 block of North 6th St. a business’ surveillance camera captured the officers drive up to Rivera and knock him off his scooter. Both officers then exited their police car, grabbed and repeatedly struck Rivera with their fists and baton while Rivera, who received a fractured orbital bone and numerous lacerations to his head, cries out in pain.
While Rivera was at the hospital, McKnight and Robinson submitted police paperwork and inaccurate statements to the Philadelphia Police Department by falsely accusing Rivera of assaulting Robinson and Resisting Arrest. Based on the false allegations, Rivera was arrested and charged with Aggravated Assault and related offenses. Eventually the charges against Rivera were withdrawn after the video evidence of the attack was reviewed by prosecutors.
Today, Officers McKnight and Robinson will be processed and arraigned. A copy of the Grand Jury presentment and photographs of Officers McKnight and Robinson and Rivera are attached.
The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office is the largest prosecutor’s office in Pennsylvania, and one of the largest in the nation. It serves the more than 1.5 million citizens of the City and County of Philadelphia, employing 600 lawyers, detectives and support staff. It is organized into seven divisions: Executive/Administration, Trials, Pre-Trial, Investigations, Juvenile Law, and Special Operations. The District Attorney’s Office is responsible for prosecution of over 75,000 criminal cases annually. The main office of the Philadelphia District Attorney is located in Center City Philadelphia at The Widener Building, Three South Penn Square. The Juvenile Court and Child Support Unit are located at 1501 Arch Street, and the Private Criminal Complaint Unit is located at 1425 Arch Street. Additionally, the Charging Unit is staffed around the clock in The Widener Building.