Police: Cop arrested for assaulting man during Puerto Rican Day Parade

Officer Aquil Byrd
Officer Aquil Byrd, 32. (Credit: Philadelphia Police Department)

A Philadelphia police officer was arrested on Wednesday for allegedly assaulting a man during the Puerto Rican Day Parade in 2011.

Officer Aquil Byrd, 32, is a 12-year veteran last assigned to the Narcotics Strike Force.

Internal Affairs received a citizen complaint alleging Byrd assaulted a man on Sept. 25, 2011 during Puerto Rican Day Parade festivities on the 3000 block of North Front Street.

Officers were called to clear a large crowd from the street and sidewalk in front of a Chinese take-out restaurant.

That’s when the complainant encountered Byrd, touching off a verbal confrontation during which the men discussed “moving off the street,” according to prosecutors.

The man can be seen on surveillance video walking into the Chinese restaurant, followed about 20 seconds later by Byrd.

A release from the District Attorney’s Office said Byrd was caught on camera hitting the man in the face and grabbing him by the throat.

The man was not arrested or charged with any criminal offense on that date, according to investigators.

Byrd also did not document the incident.

He was later removed from the street and placed on administrative duty pending the outcome of the investigation.

The allegations were referred to the District Attorney’s Office in January 2013.

After reviewing the evidence, prosecutors found Byrd did act in a criminal manner, according to a statement.

He is charged with two misdemeanor offenses of simple assault and official oppression.

Byrd surrendered to Internal Affairs Wednesday.

He has been suspended for 30 days with the intent to dismiss.

Byrd is not the first cop to face charges in connection with Puerto Rican Day Parade festivities.

Philadelphia police Lt. Jonathan Josey was dismissed from the force in October 2012 after being accused of punching a woman during the 2012 Puerto Rican Day celebration.

Josey was also charged with simple assault in connection with the incident, but found not guilty following a trial in late February.


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