The 20-year-old pizza deliveryman who was shot several times last April by plain-clothes cops who thought he was trying to run them over near 51st and Willows in the Cedar Park neighborhood is suing the city.
The officers reportedly approached Philippe Holland, who had just finished a delivery, on the sidewalk with their guns drawn. They were searching for a suspect in an earlier shooting. Holland contends that 18th District officers Mitchell Farrell and Kevin Hanvey approached him as he was getting into his car and that he thought they were robbers. Farrell and Hanvey opened fire as he tried to drive away. Holland was struck in the head, neck and leg.
Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey apologized to Holland soon after the shooting. West Philly residents raised money for Holland’s medical expenses and more than 100 signed a petition asking that the results of the investigation be made public. It was hoped that the shooting might prompt more transparency in police shootings, which spiked in 2012 and prompted Ramsey to request a federal review of the department.
One result has been the posting of some information from officer-involved shootings online.
Here is what the posting on that site says about the Holland case:
04/22/14 On Tuesday, April 22, 2014, at approximately 9:56 P.M., two on-duty officers in an unmarked vehicle and in civilian attire heard gunshots in the area of 51st street and Baltimore Avenue. While surveying the area, the officers observed a male walking south on 51st street toward Willows Avenue, with his hands inside his pockets. The officers identified themselves as police officers and ordered the male to stop. The offender opened and entered the front passenger door of a Ford Taurus that was parked in the 5100 block of Willows Avenue. The offender positioned himself in the driver’s seat and drove the vehicle initially in reverse, and then forward toward the officers. In response, both officers discharged their firearms, striking the offender. The offender was transported to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania for treatment. There were no other injuries as a result of this incident. No weapon was recovered.
– Mike Lyons