Weeks after a Philadelphia judge cleared former police inspector Joseph Bologna of criminal wrongdoing for striking a Temple University student with a baton at last spring’s George Floyd protests, the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office refiled the charges against him, ensuring another chapter in a case that has served as a flash point in the discussion over police reform.
Prosecutors refiled the criminal complaint against Bologna on Thursday, according to court records. District Attorney Larry Krasner said in a statement: “Philadelphians demand evenhanded justice and we are trying our very best to give them exactly that.”
One of Bologna’s attorneys, Fortunato Perri Jr., declined to comment.
John McNesby, president of the police union, said the decision to prosecute Bologna again was “not based on facts or evidence,” but was a political decision by Krasner, who is in the midst of a reelection campaign, and who McNesby said was “clearly running away from his failed record over the past three years.”
Bologna was arrested in June, after a video showing him striking Temple engineering student Evan Gorski on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway spread widely on social media. A group of officers had been confronting a crowd protesting the killing of Floyd by Minneapolis police.
Philadelphia police had initially arrested Gorski after that June 1 melee and accused him of assaulting an officer. But Krasner’s office dropped those charges and moved to prosecute Bologna instead after the video attracted attention online.
Bologna, a 31-year veteran of the force, was subsequently fired.
The police officers’ union backed Bologna and said he had been doing his job during a chaotic and dangerous situation.
Last month, after Municipal Court Judge Henry Lewandowski III ruled at a preliminary hearing that the DA’s Office had not presented enough evidence to establish that Bologna’s use of his baton was a crime, his lawyers reiterated that Bologna was simply following his training amid challenging circumstances.
Bologna is due back in court March 15 for another preliminary hearing, according to court records.