Philadelphia, Pa -- An ex-transit cop has been found guilty of false imprisonment and official oppression stemming from a Christmas Day incident when he stepped on a woman’s foot and refused to apologize — after cutting in line at Dunkin’ Donuts in 2013. When the woman attempted to alert the officer’s superiors, he slammed her head into an ATM machine — and placed her under arrest.
Douglas Ioven, a former officer with the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority (SEPTA), cut in line on Christmas in front of Muibat Williamson, a nurse at Einstein Medical Center, who was on her way home from a night shift. When Ioven was leaving, with coffee and doughnuts in hand, he stepped on Williamson’s foot.
In testimony about the 2013 row, reported philly.com, Williamson said she confronted the officer and demanded he apologize — but Ioven refused. An argument ensued, and an unnamed witness said she even inserted herself between the pair to remind them of the holiday. She overheard Ioven tell Williamson,
“Next time, move out of the way.”
Williamson decided to file a complaint and knocked on the SEPTA police station door. But, as she testified, Ioven — attempting to prevent his superiors from finding out what had happened — cursed at and then chased her. Williamson said the officer banged her head against an ATM machine as he tried to place her in handcuffs to arrest her for disorderly conduct.
Defense attorney Joseph Silvestro Jr. tried to place blame for the entire incident on Williamson, telling the jury, “This all happened because Muibat Williamson decided that her value system had to be imposed on Doug Ioven.”
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Assistant District Attorney Andrew Wellbrock countered that all Williamson wanted from Ioven was an apology and “some basic human decency.”
“Does ‘next time, move out of the way’ sound like somebody who didn’t do anything wrong?” he asked.
In fact, according to philly.com, “Ioven’s face reddened as the verdict was announced” — and for good reason. The cop’s indignant rush for doughnuts could land him behind bars for up to four years — though sentencing guidelines recommend probation.
This incident could best be characterized as Blue Privilege at its ugliest and most ironic — a rude cop falsely arresting a woman because his craving for doughnuts was that urgent.
Perhaps the true spiteful nature of that Blue Privilege came in testimony from a retired SEPTA police sergeant. After the incident, Ioven told him,
“I think I screwed up because I thought she was a homeless person, but she was a regular person.”
Indeed, that speaks volumes.