Wounded suspect ID’d in alleged cop beating

Posted: May 21, 2012

An attempted-robbery suspect who got into a violent confrontation with a police officer Saturday morning in West Philadelphia — allegedly beating the cop with the cop’s baton before the officer shot and injured him — was identified Sunday as Sidney Clayton, 31, of 34th Street near Haverford Avenue in Mantua.

Police Lt. Ray Evers said Clayton, who is at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in critical but stable condition, was charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault, possession of an instrument of crime and related offenses.

He said Clayton has 17 prior arrests on cases involving robberies, drugs, guns and assaults.

The incident unfolded about 10:30 a.m. Saturday when the officer, of the 19th District, headquartered at 61st and Thompson streets, was flagged down in his patrol car by a man outside a restaurant near the Park West Town Center at North 52nd and West Jefferson Streets in the Parkside section of the city.

The man pointed at Clayton, accusing him of trying to steal his backpack.

The male officer approached Clayton, who is “very large,” about 300 pounds and more than 6 feet tall, Evers said. Clayton then began punching the cop, police said. That’s when the officer, who has been on the force for about a year and a half and is smaller in size than Clayton, struck Clayton several times with his collapsible baton, Evers said.

During the struggle, Clayton tried to go after the officer’s service weapon, which was in his holster, Evers said.

Evers said he believes that’s when the cop dropped his baton. Clayton picked up the baton and then struck the officer several times, Evers said.

The officer in self-defense then shot Clayton five or six times, Evers said.

“It was a very, very difficult situation, life-threatening,” Evers said Sunday. “We’re lucky the officer is alive. It was a very, very violent struggle. We believe the officer took the proper action.”

Evers said police are not releasing the officer’s name. As is standard protocol, this officer will be put on administrative duty and the shooting will be investigated by the District Attorney’s Office, he said.

Other officers arrived at the scene as backup and helped to contain and handcuff Clayton, who will be tested to see if he was under the influence of drugs, Evers said.

Contact Julie Shaw at 215-854-2592 or shawj@phillynews.com, or follow on Twitter @julieshawphilly.

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