Philadelphia Police Staff Inspector Joseph Bologna has surrendered to authorities following his behavior during a recent protest. Bologna is facing felony charges following the release of a video that showed him striking a student protester with a metal baton in the head with a metal baton.
After arriving at the Fraternal Order of Police headquarters on Monday, Bologna was formally charged with aggravated and simple assault, reckless endangerment and possession of an instrument of crime, reports Fox 29. His charges were read by District Attorney Larry Krasner, who cited the now-viral video. Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw also suspended Bologna for 30 days with the intent to dismiss after that timeframe. As the officer was leaving the FoP headquarters, he received a round of applause from some of his fellow officers.
BREAKING: @PhillyPolice Staff Inspector Joe Bologna,54,leaves @FOPLodge5 to turn himself in on felony charges for violent protest confrontation last week that severely injured @TempleUniv student,21, when hit on head with police baton @FOX29philly pic.twitter.com/VsJSYSseHY— Steve Keeley (@KeeleyFox29) June 8, 2020
A commander in the patrol bureau, Bologna was caught on video moving aggressively toward FOX 29 reporter Chris O'Connell during the protest Sunday. A lawyer for the student protester needed ten sutures to close the wound on his head, which he reportedly received during his encounter with the officer. The incident also led to calls for Temple University to sever its ties with the Philadelphia Police Department, thanks largely to a petition on Change.org.
In a formal statement, the university wrote that continuing their relationship with the department "would be in the best interest of temple students, faculty and staff, and our neighbors in the surrounding community." It went on to state that "shared responsibilities and patrols among the Temple Police Department, our allied universal security partners and the Philadelphia Police Department help keep us safe by providing effective layers of service and protection for the Temple community and residents in nearby neighborhoods."
The protests around the U.S. and beyond are nearing their second straight week, which were initially sparked by the death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on May 25. Since then, calls for an end to police brutality, as well as a radical restructuring of police forces nationwide, have resulted, with some cities already planning to make such changes.