Philadelphia, PA — A public defender was hospitalized, and a client represented by her firm left with more charges after a takedown just outside Criminal Justice Center courtroom.
Anthony C. Jones, 22 is now facing several more charges after the incident that took place earlier this month. Paula Sen, a public defender working for the firm representing Jones, was punched in the face during the struggle.
Those who witnessed the incident were left shocked.
“The officers overstepped their authority,” said lawyer Richard Hoy, who witnessed the altercation on a hallway bench nearby. “He was no threat to anybody. He was loud and obnoxious. He wasn’t threatening them – or anybody. The officers are there to protect people, but they didn’t protect anybody. They abused their power.”
According to Philly.com
The incident started about 11 a.m. last Friday, when a court crier in Courtroom 706 ordered Jones to remove his hat and then booted him out when he became upset, Sen said.
In the hallway, Jones yelled and cursed, and Sen hurried to defuse things, Hoy and Sen said. (Sen didn’t represent Jones, but her employer, the Defender Association of Philadelphia, did.)
About a dozen officers stood gathered down the corridor, Hoy said. “Look 50 feet from you now – that’s how far the police were,” he added.
Of Jones, Hoy said: “There was obviously something [mentally] wrong with him. But [the] PD [public defender] had him 75 percent calmed down.”
Still, about six officers suddenly swarmed, Sen said.
As the officers attacked, the 100 lb Sen tried to diffuse the situation, but to no avail. She was knocked down and punched in the head by Officer David Chisholm, according to Sen.
Officers then piled on top Jones and began to pummel him.
Officers claimed that Sen’s injuries were a result of her falling and not being punched.
“It is ridiculous to think that I would jump into a fight involving at least six police officers and then just somehow fall,” Sen said. “This young man was attacked. It was unprovoked, and I was collateral damage. If this is how these officers behave in the Criminal Justice Center with that many potential witnesses, how do they act on the streets when there are no witnesses?”
“He was bleeding fairly profusely and the cops continued taunting him,” Sen said as she explained how she was taken to the hospital but Jones wasn’t given any treatment.
Hoy tried to diffuse the situation as well and told the officers that there was no need for violence, “the officer told me to ‘mind your own f—ing business,’ ” Hoy said.
When one of Sen’s supervisors tried to get Chisholm’s name, he allegedly refused to identify himself.
“He said: ‘If you let these animals act like this, this is what happens,’ and, ‘If you keep pushing this, we are going to have a conversation,’ ” Jordan Barnett, chief of the Defender Association’s Southwest Division told Philly.com. “I find it troubling that the officer would refuse to give his name and make statements like that in a public courthouse.”
A spokesperson for the District Attorney’s office, Cameron Kline, is defending the officers’ actions and said they will not be charged.
Unfortunately, only part of the courthouse is under video surveillance, so none of this incident was caught on film.