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Philadelphia police commissioner moves to fire officer who shot and killed 12-year-old who was allegedly armed

<i>Tom Gralish/The Philadelphia Inquirer/AP</i><br/>
Tom Gralish/The Philadelphia Inquirer/AP

By Rebekah Riess and Amy Simonson, CNN

The Philadelphia Police Commissioner announced Tuesday she plans to fire the officer who shot and killed 12-year-old Thomas Siderio because the shooting violates the department’s “use of force directive.”

Commissioner Danielle M. Outlaw said the officer will be suspended for 30 days and at the end of that period will be fired. She did not go into details about what action the officer took that violated the department policy.

The officer who is being terminated is one of four officers riding in an unmarked police car when the rear window was struck by a bullet, police said. The officer and another officer chased Siderio and a 17-year-old. The officer fired his service weapon, striking Siderio in the back.

In a statement, Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner said his office is investigating the incident along with the police department, as is standard practice.

Without going into further detail, Krasner said the death is “a factually complex and deeply troubling one based on preliminary investigative information.”

The union that represents the police officer declined to comment.

Outlaw did not name the officers involved, citing security threats, instead referring to them as Officers number one, two, three and four.

“I’ve made the decision to utilize Commissioner’s Direct Action to suspend Officer number one with the intent to dismiss the officer at the end of 30 days due to violations of our use of force directive,” the commissioner said in a Tuesday news conference. “Due to our use of force directive, or the collective bargaining agreement between the city and the FOP (Fraternal Order of Police), the soonest I can serve this action will be 72 hours after communicating my intent to the FOP. So therefore, the soonest the 30 days can begin, is this Friday afternoon.

“Based off of the evidence that I reviewed, it was clear that the use of force policy was violated,” Outlaw said. “I will tell you that all use of force has to be proportionate to the resistance they’re trying to overcome. I will also tell you that our policy clearly states that excessive force will not be tolerated.”

Outlaw said evidence collected so far indicates it was Thomas Siderio who discharged the firearm into the police vehicle. Siderio was still in possession of the firearm as he fled on foot, according to Outlaw. Officer number two maintained cover as Officer number one continued to pursue Siderio on foot and discharged two additional times, striking Siderio in the upper right back, one time, the bullet exiting from the left chest area, the commissioner said.

Outlaw said police are also certain it was Officer number one who fired the shot that struck and killed Thomas Siderio.

“It’s just it’s just a sickening and saddening situation all around,” the commissioner added. “By the grace of God our officers were not shot and killed or not shot in the head. So, there’s a miracle there. It’s tragic that a 12-year-old had access to a gun. It’s tragic that we have trigger pullers as young as 12. It’s tragic the circumstances that even lead our young people out there in the first place. And it’s tragic that we had one of our own again, go against everything who we say we are.”

Conor Corcoran, the Siderio family attorney, accused the police commissioner of “utterly refusing to provide any details about what she knows.” Corcoran has also filed an intent to file a lawsuit.

The DA investigation will determine if any criminal law was violated, while the police department will determine if there are department violations.

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