Another Philly cop charged with assault at festival

Officer Aquil Byrd was arrested, suspended and charged with assault and official oppression on Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Officer Aquil Byrd was arrested, suspended and charged with assault and official oppression on Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Posted: April 25, 2013

A Philadelphia police officer on duty during the 2011 Puerto Rican Day Festival has been arrested, suspended and charged with assault and official oppression.

Officer Aquil Byrd, a 12-year veteran who was last assigned to the Narcotics Strike Force, was called to the 3000 block of N. Front Street on Sept. 25 to help disperse a crowd, police said.

Byrd and a male festival attendee got into a verbal altercation which soon degenerated into alleged physical violence. Byrd allegedly punched the man in the face and grabbed him by the throat, according to a police news release. The man, who police did not identify by name, was not arrested and the Byrd did not file a report.

During a police investigation, Byrd was put on desk duty. After the investigation results were in, the District Attorney's office approved the charges for simple assault and official oppression.

Byrd surrendered to internal affairs officers today. Police said Commissioner Ramsey would immediately suspend Byrd with intent to dismiss.

Byrd's alleged incident preceded that of ex-police Lt. Jonathan Josey by a year.

Josey was charged with assault in Sept. 2012 for sucker-punching Aida Guzman at last year's festival.

The 10-second episode was captured on video.

Municipal Court Judge Patrick F. Dugan found Josey non-guilty in February and accepted the officer's explanation that he was trying to swipe a bottle of beer from the woman when he accidently hit her.


Contact staff writer Sam Wood at 215-854-2796, @samwoodiii or samwood@phillynews.com.

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