Phila. officer charged with threatening a pedestrian

Edward Sawicki III
Edward Sawicki III
Posted: April 04, 2014

A Philadelphia police officer has been arrested in connection with an incident in which he rushed at another man and, with his hand on his city-issued firearm, threatened to kill him, police said Wednesday.

Edward Sawicki III, 34, was off duty when the incident happened about 2:45 a.m. Oct. 20, police said. The nine-year veteran was backing up his car when it struck a pedestrian. The man, who was hit in a knee, banged on Sawicki's trunk to let him know he had been struck, police said.

That's when Sawicki got out of the car, pulled up his shirt, and revealed his department-issued weapon, police said. He rushed at the man, shouting threats and racial epithets. "I'll smoke you," he said, according to the District Attorney's Office.

The man called police, and shortly thereafter, Sawicki was identified. His gun was taken from him.

Sawicki, who turned himself in Wednesday, was most recently assigned to the 25th District. He was charged with making terroristic threats, possessing an instrument of crime, simple assault, and harassment, all misdemeanors. He was also charged with disorderly conduct, a summary offense. He was suspended for 30 days with the intent to dismiss.

John McNesby, the head of the department's Fraternal Order of Police lodge, said the union was awaiting Sawicki's appearance in court. "I'm sure the truth will come out when he goes to court," he said.

Between 2010 and 2012, three civilian complaints were filed against Sawicki, according to Internal Affairs documents obtained by The Inquirer. All three contained allegations of physical abuse. None of the complaints was sustained.

In one, an 18-year-old Juniata Park man reported that he was stopped in January 2010 by two officers who threatened him and searched his pants and underwear without gloves. Sawicki and the two officers he was on patrol with that night said they did not remember stopping anyone, although the two officers with him did run a check on the man's name that evening.

In another, a Media man said Sawicki hit him during a heroin bust in December 2011, but told investigators he wasn't injured and "didn't even have a headache." Sawicki told investigators he had not used force.

In the third complaint, a West Philadelphia man said Sawicki hit him repeatedly during a search. He ran, he said, after another officer attempted to use a Taser on him. Then, the man said, he was hit by a police SUV.

The allegations of physical abuse against Sawicki and the other responding officers were not sustained. The driver of the SUV received a departmental violation for not reporting that the man had been hit.

Said McNesby: "You could line those complaints at the bottom of a litter box."


awhelan@phillynews.com

215-854-2961 @aubreyjwhelan

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