Veteran Philly cop, arrested this week over incident in March, had prior blemishes on his record

Posted: January 08, 2011

The brushup that led to his arrest Wednesday night wasn't the first time that fellow officers thought Philadelphia police Officer Aleksande Shwarz had been "out of control."

Shwarz, who was arrested for filing a false police report after allegedly assaulting a U-Haul manager, had a run-in with a doctor at a mental facility early in his career that led to his spending an hour inside a cell, according to a law-enforcement source.

Meanwhile, in 2009, the city settled a federal lawsuit after Shwarz shot and killed 15-year-old Ronald Timbers inside his Crescentville home in 2007. Police had claimed that Timbers was charging Shwarz and his partner from the top of the stairs with a clothing iron, but the teen's mother, Yvonne Young, said her son was pacing with the iron when Shwarz fired the fatal shot.

Shwarz's arrest this week stems from a March 4 incident in which Shwarz claimed he had been assaulted at the U-Haul Moving & Storage on Roosevelt Boulevard near Ryan Avenue.

But a video camera caught Shwarz allegedly assaulting the store manager, grabbing him by the neck until he went limp, a law- enforcement source said.

Shwarz, a 21-year veteran most recently assigned to Northeast Philadelphia's 2nd District, was charged with simple assault, unsworn falsification to authorities and abuse of office, all misdemeanors. His bail was set at $5,000.

Shwarz is the 12th Philadelphia police officer to be charged criminally since last January.

He has been suspended for 30 days with intent to dismiss and will be served with termination papers next week, Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey said.

"Unfortunately there's more [arrests] coming this year, but it should in no way diminish the good work being done by this department on a daily basis," Ramsey said. "There are a few people who have abused that trust, and we are committed to weeding them out."

Shwarz's case may already have had an effect on departmental policy. Just yesterday, police officers were told that, beginning Monday, all assault-on-police cases must be reviewed by captains or those with higher ranks.

In Shwarz's case, the U-Haul store manager had asked him and his partner to remove a business vehicle listed on the National Crime Information Center database as having been stolen because the vehicle had been found, the law-enforcement source said.

To remove it, Shwarz and his partner would have to pick it up, bring it back into the district, and do more work there, according to police sources.

Shwarz refused the manager's request and they exchanged heated words. Shwarz's partner walked out, apparently "embarrassed" by the argument, the source said.

The manager began to write down the patrol car's tag numbers and Shwarz ripped the paper out of his hands and grabbed the employee by the throat, the source said. He allegedly lifted the manager up by his neck until he went limp. When he let go, the manager fell to the ground and Shwarz arrested him.

The District Attorney's Office declined the case against the manager and Internal Affairs Bureau then began investigating Shwarz.

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