DeCoatsworth hit with stay-away order

Ex-cop Richard DeCoatsworth
Ex-cop Richard DeCoatsworth
Posted: February 28, 2012

STEVEN KOCHER, the Port Richmond man who accused former high-profile cop Richard DeCoatsworth of threatening and assaulting him, left the city courthouse yesterday afraid for his safety.

"Definitely, I'm still concerned for the safety of my life and my mother's life," Kocher, 26, said after testifying against his former friend and neighbor during a private criminal-complaint hearing.

"I haven't been out of my house in two weeks. I don't plan on going out when I leave here. I'm scared."

Kocher and his mother, Antoinette, said they don't understand why the District Attorney's Office has not signed off on arrest warrants for DeCoatsworth for the threats and assault they said he committed against Steven on Jan. 24, and for a threat they said he made against Antoinette on Jan. 25.

When told of the Kochers' concerns, a spokeswoman for D.A. Seth Williams replied by email that the office does not comment on cases unless charges have been filed.

Yesterday's hearing before Trial Commissioner Catherine Dumoff dealt only with the Jan. 24 incident. After listening to Kocher testify, Dumoff issued verbal mutual stay-away orders to last a year. An arbitrator put them in writing, at Kocher's request.

DeCoatsworth, 26, who wore a grim face and black pin-striped suit, declined to testify. The former cop, who retired in December, and his attorney, Jimmy Binns, also declined to comment after the hearing.

DeCoatsworth was once hailed as a hero for surviving a shotgun blast to the mouth when he was a rookie in 2007. He was invited to Washington to sit with first lady Michelle Obama during a presidential address in 2009.

Questions about DeCoatsworth's temperament arose after he began racking up citizen complaints accusing him of being abusive and after he shot two men in separate 2009 incidents.

Shortly before he retired, sources said, DeCoatsworth got into a fistfight with another officer.

Kocher said his troubles began when he lost his job and was unable to repay $2,000 that DeCoatsworth had lent him last year.

Kocher testified that after meeting DeCoatsworth on a Port Richmond street corner on Jan. 24, the former cop became verbally abusive while demanding his money, then forced him into his truck.

" 'Get in the truck. You're going for a ride,' " DeCoatsworth said, Kocher told Dumoff. "I was scared for my life."

DeCoatsworth first drove to a barbershop to get a haircut, then to the Thompson Street home of one of Kocher's friend's, where he got rough, Kocher said.

"He threw me against the wall, grabbed my neck and ripped my father's necklace off," he testified.

Besides stealing his late father's necklace, Kocher said, DeCoatsworth also took $218.

Antoinette Kocher said that the following day, DeCoatsworth threatened her when she went to his Salmon Street home to copy down his address for her son's complaint.

"He had opened the door while I was there, and he said, 'I got something for both of ya'll,' and went like that," she said, forming her right hand into the shape of a gun.


Contact Mensah M. Dean at 215-854-5949 or deanm@phillynews.com.

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