When Law Enforcement Officers Are Charged with a Crime

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Aug 03, 2020 | 0 Comments

In June 2020, Philadelphia Staff Inspector Joseph Bologna was charged with aggravated assault, simple assault, possession of an instrument of crime, and recklessly endangering another person by District Attorney Larry Krasner. The charges arose after Bologna was seen in a video striking a protestor with a metal baton.

More specifically, the protestor was a Temple University student who was protesting George Floyd's death, according to The Hill, “peacefully on Benjamin Franklin Parkway” in Philadelphia. Floyd died in police custody in Minneapolis in May.  That being said, whether this was in fact the case is still being debated. 

The DA claims that the student suffered “serious bodily injury, including a large head wound that required treatment in a hospital while under arrest, including approximately 10 staples and approximately 10 sutures.” The student spent a day in police custody before Krasner charged Bologna.

LEO Facing Criminal Charges

Anyone can find themselves on the wrong side of criminal laws, and that includes law enforcement officers (LEO), such as police officers and federal agents. For LEO accused of crimes, the criminal procedure isn't different than that for ordinary citizens facing the same charges. The DA proceeds to gather a case, which may end in a plea deal or trial and could include severe penalties — including lengthy prison time — when all is said and done.

Note that the concept of qualified immunity does protect officers from civil lawsuits seeking damages for alleged excessive use of force as their actions are protected unless “every reasonable official” would know their conduct was violating a “clearly established” constitutional right or if the officer was “plainly incompetent.”

In addition to criminal charges, though, it is likely that the officer will also face an internal investigation. In fact, in the case discussed above, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw announced an internal affairs investigation into the video-recorded incident immediately.

The potential ramifications for a criminal conviction or even a finding of misconduct by the department are incredibly serious and could place the LEO's career, livelihood, and freedom at risk.

If you are a law enforcement officer who has been charged with a crime, it is important to understand all of the potential consequences before you. Contact the LLF Law Firm online or call (888) 535-3686 today to discuss your options.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento passionately fights for the futures of his clients in criminal courtrooms in Philadelphia and across Pennsylvania as well as in New Jersey and nationwide. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. With unparalleled experience occupying several roles in the criminal justice system outside of being an attorney, Joseph D. Lento can give you valuable behind-the-scenes insight as to what is happening during all phases of the legal process. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, and is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide. In the courtroom and in life, attorney Joseph D. Lento stands up when the bell rings!


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The LLF Law Firm Team has decades of experience successfully resolving clients' criminal charges in Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania counties. If you are having any uncertainties about what the future may hold for you or a loved one, contact the LLF Law Firm today! Our Criminal Defense Team will go above and beyond the needs of any client, and will fight until the final bell rings.

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