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Officer Charged With Assault, Abuse of Office

Officer Charged With Assault, Abuse of Office

Officer Aleksande Shwarz is free on $5,000 bail.

Philadelphia Inquirer via YellowBrix

January 08, 2011

A 21-year veteran of the Philadelphia Police Department has been arrested on charges of lying to police about an arrest he made last March in which he claimed a man assaulted him.

Instead, police said Friday, Officer Aleksande Shwarz was the aggressor, and Shwarz himself has been charged with assault for his role in the arrest.

Shwarz, 54, has been suspended for 30 days with intent to dismiss, Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey said in a statement.

Shwarz, who was assigned to the Second District, was arrested Wednesday on charges of simple assault, unsworn falsification to authorities, and abuse of office. He was released on $5,000 bail after an arraignment hearing Wednesday night. He could not be reached for comment.

Rich Bobbe, an attorney representing the subject of Shwarz’s allegedly falsified report, said he and his client were pleased that a full investigation had been conducted by the Police Department’s Internal Affairs Bureau and the District Attorney’s Office.

“We look forward to justice fully being served,” Bobbe said.

Bobbe would not release the name of his client, but he is in his early 30s and has no criminal record. He was never formally charged in the arrest Shwarz made on March 4, and was cleared of any wrongdoing soon afterward.

The man works at a U-Haul agency on the 7700 block of Roosevelt Boulevard, where the arrest took place and where the incident was captured on multiple security cameras, Bobbe said.

A van was stolen from U-Haul last spring, and was later found and returned to the company. When employees realized the van was still listed on the police database of stolen vehicles, the man Shwarz later arrested called police and asked for help removing it from the list so the company could begin renting it out, Bobbe said.

Shwarz and his partner were dispatched to handle the matter and arrived at U-Haul shortly after 4 p.m. The man explained the situation, but there was a problem with the paperwork and Shwarz and the man got into a dispute.

It is unclear how the situation became hostile, but at some point the man asked for the name of Shwarz’s supervisor, Bobbe said, then went outside to write down the number of Shwarz’s cruiser. Shwarz followed, Bobbe said.

As the man began walking back to the office, Shwarz “lunged” at him in an apparent effort to take the paper from him, Bobbe said. When the man kept walking toward the door, Shwarz grabbed him, shoved him, and threw him to the ground, Bobbe said. The man was arrested on a charge of simple assault and taken away in handcuffs.

Shwarz later claimed the man was belligerent and swore at the officers, Bobbe said, and alleged he threw a shoulder into Shwarz’s torso to bodycheck him.

Bobbe obtained surveillance footage from the U-Haul site and brought it to the District Attorney’s Office. After reviewing the footage, the office declined to file charges in the case and referred the matter to Internal Affairs Bureau. The man was released after about 24 hours, Bobbe said.

In addition to the cameras, another employee and at least two customers witnessed the arrest, Bobbe said. Their interviews also contradicted Shwarz’s version of events.

Shwarz’s is the latest in a series of arrests of Philadelphia officers. Last year, 11 officers were arrested on charges ranging from rape to murder to drug dealing, prompting Ramsey to say that restoring the department’s integrity was a priority.

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