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Monday, March 31, 2008

A Not-So-Smart Philly Police Sergeant

This is breaking news, folks, since SYLG may be the first blog to publish this unbelievable story. (6ABC and Domelights reported it first.) What follows is an example of what Philadelphia police officers have to deal with every single day. And that's within the department!

PHILADELPHIA - March 21, 2008 (WPVI) -- The officer at the center of a cop versus cop investigation is Sergeant Larry Smart.

Sources tell Action News, Sgt. Larry Smart was off duty, leaving the Home Depot on the Boulevard when he got into a fender bender. Police from the 2nd District were called. Smart allegedly was evasive and did not identify himself as a police officer.

And why the hell not? If the sergeant was involved in an incident where the police had to be called, the first thing he should have done was to identify himself to the responding officers.

Backup officers were called in and a fight broke out with Sgt. Smart allegedly striking at least one officer who had to be treated at a local hospital. Another female officer suffered minor injuries and was treated on scene.

Don't grab the duct tape yet, folks. Here is the money quote:

Sgt. Smart was not arrested, but Internal Affairs immediately launched an investigation.

So, apparently, an off-duty police sergeant can assault two on-duty police officers - and send one to the hospital - and not be arrested. Hmm, I guess our new police commissioner, Charles Ramsey, doesn't see a problem with his officers committing felonies!

Internal Affairs could not talk about specifics, but say Sgt. Smart, who works out of the 92nd District, did get into a physical altercation with officers following a traffic accident.

The department says the allegations are very serious and it will conduct a complete and thorough investigation. (H/T - 6ABC)

Would you like to read more about this story? Good luck. 6ABC is the only news outlet to report this incident . . . and the story is now ten days old. One would think that the Philly media would be all over this story, right?

I don't want to be overly cynical, but the off-duty sergeant is an African-American, and the on-duty officers are Caucasian. I don't want to argue that race is a factor here, but what other explanation can there be, especially after the media was all over this story involving two Caucasian officers? For the record, Officers Schweizer and Dial were each suspended without pay for twenty days and transferred out of their unit and placed back into patrol.

Do me a favor. Google "Officer Scott Schweizer" and notice how many results you find. Then, Google "Sergeant Larry Smart" and see how many results you find. Yes, the Schweizer incident is older than this one, but doesn't it strike you as strange that no other outlet is addressing this assault? The 6ABC story doesn't mention the race of any of the officers involved.

Either way, I think Smart should be arrested for aggravated assault and fired. If Ramsey transferred and suspended two officers for racist stickers, the least he should do in this incident is demand Smart's dismissal. He is a disgrace to every officer, regardless of race.

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