District Attorney Reviewing Charged Officers’ Past Arrests

By Kenneth Lipp

A spokesperson for Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams tells the Declaration that the DA’s office is reviewing past arrests made by Officers Sean McKnight and Kevin Robinson. The prosecution of McKnight and Robinson for beating Najee Rivera in May of 2013 and then lying to conceal their crimes was announced yesterday by the District Attorney accompanied by Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey. Rivera was initially charged with aggravated assault, resisting arrest, and related offenses, all of which were dropped by the DA’s office based on video surveillance directly contradicting reports filed by arresting officers McKnight and Robinson.

Assistant District Attorney Cameron Kline said via telephone that the DA’s office is reviewing past arrests by the officers where the charges involve assault on police or circumstances similar to the Rivera case.

Both officers, now suspended with intent to dismiss, have been on desk duty since Rivera’s girlfriend brought video footage from a store near the incident to authorities, footage which showed the Philly Police Officers first running down Rivera on his scooter before brutally beating him without provocation. Both McKnight and Robinson also have had 7 citizen complaints filed against them, including one for use of force which was sustained by Internal Affairs, in 2010. The Declaration has requested a copy of that closed case report.

ADA Cameron said the District Attorney encourages anyone with information regarding McKnight or Robinson or any other incident of police misconduct to contact his office.

Editor’s note: this article originally incorrectly named the DA’s Office spokesperson as Edward Cameron

About Kenneth Lipp

Kenneth is a writer and researcher. He’s from Alabama, and will not apologize for it. He moved to Pennsylvania in 2012, but has been in love with Philadelphia since a late-night stroll down Ben Franklin Parkway to the Art Museum in July of 2011 with the love of his life. He is interested in telling Philadelphia’s dynamic and absolutely unique stories with the zeal of a constantly enamored newcomer. Kenneth is also passionate about government transparency and protection of whistleblowers, most notably PFC Chelsea Manning. His research and reporting on law enforcement and surveillance have been featured in various publications, including Rolling Stone (Meet the Private Companies Helping Cops Spy on Protesters) and Popular Science (Boston Tested Crowd-Watching Software That Catalogues People's Skin Color). His training is in both genetics and history and he likes the joke about being a helicase and unzipping your “genes.” He’s driven to know, and thinks you can handle, the truth. Follow him on Twitter @kennethlipp.

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