2 police officials suspended for alleged cover-up of arrest

Posted: August 31, 2012

Two veteran Philadelphia police officials were disciplined Friday for their roles in an alleged cover-up of a scuffle between a pair of patrol cops and the grandson of a retired police captain.

Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey said that Inspector Aaron Horne and Capt. John McCloskey were both suspended for 30 days without pay.

Horne, the commander of the Northwest Police Division, was transferred to the Forensic Science Bureau.

Horne had been in line for a promotion to chief inspector later this year. "Unfortunately, at this moment, that's not an option," Ramsey said.

McCloskey, the commander of Olney's 35th District, was transferred to night command.

The Daily News reported in July that 35th District Officers Shane Darden and Tim Taylor had stopped Rodney Handy in his car after a report of gunfire in Oak Lane on March 18.

The cops ended up tussling with Handy after he refused to get out of his car, and a Taser was used to subdue the 22-year-old college student.

The People Paper reported that Handy's grandfather, retired police captain Arthur Woody, asked Horne to make the arrest go away.

Horne allegedly told Darden and Taylor to destroy records of their encounter with Handy.

The Daily News also reported that Horne had allegedly instructed McCloskey, the patrol cops' boss, to change information in the Police Department's computer system so that it would appear that Handy had not been arrested.

McCloskey claimed in July that he had no role in the alleged cover-up.

Ramsey declined to discuss the specifics of the case.

"An allegation was made that was sustained through an [Internal Affairs] investigation," he said. "This disciplinary action is a result of that. I don't want to get into any more detail."

Ramsey said having to investigate and discipline two of the department's top brass was a difficult task.

"It's nothing that I enjoy doing  . . . but the integrity of the entire department is first and foremost in my mind," he said. "I just think we have to be held to a higher standard."

The commissioner was quick to note that this incident won't end the careers of Horne or McCloskey.

"These two guys are hard workers who do an excellent job," he said. "They just made a mistake that has to be dealt with."

Contact David Gambacorta at gambacd@phillynews.com or 215-854-5994. Follow him on Twitter at @dgambacorta.

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