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Philadelphia detective arrested in bizarre off-duty incident, the 10th officer charged this year

Detective Robert Redanauer allegedly pointed a gun in a man's face and stated: "I am going to shoot you." The man noticed the Fraternal Order of Police emblem on Redanauer's license plate.

Detective Robert Redanauer, a 30-year veteran of the force, was arrested Tuesday on charges that include simple assault and making terroristic threats.
Detective Robert Redanauer, a 30-year veteran of the force, was arrested Tuesday on charges that include simple assault and making terroristic threats.Read moreYong Kim / Staff Photographer

A longtime Philadelphia police detective was arrested this week following an Internal Affairs investigation into an off-duty incident in which he allegedly pointed a handgun at a man’s face and threatened to kill him.

Detective Robert Redanauer, 51, turned himself in Tuesday and was charged with simple assault, making terroristic threats, and related offenses.

Redanauer’s arrest — he is at least the 10th current or former Philadelphia police officer to be charged with a crime in the last three months — was announced by the department Thursday. He was suspended for 30 days with the intent to dismiss, according to a police spokesperson.

“In order for police officers to effectively do their jobs, it is imperative that they are held to a higher standard — both on and off-duty,” Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said in a statement. “The charges filed against Detective Redanauer are serious in nature, and represent intolerable behavior.”

According to the affidavit for Redanauer’s arrest, a 23-year-old man reported that he entered his mother’s bedroom in Northeast Philadelphia in December 2020 after hearing a verbal altercation between his teenage brother and an unknown male, who was naked. The brothers’ mother was also in the bedroom, according to a law enforcement official. Police later identified the man as Redanauer.

Redanauer allegedly ran over to the dresser and grabbed a handgun, pointed it in the man’s face and said, “Come here, f---er. I am going to shoot you,” according to the affidavit. The man put his hands up and said, “Please don’t shoot me,” as Redanauer continued to walk toward him and threaten him with the gun, the affidavit states.

The man said he backed out of the room and called 911. He told police he noticed that the gunman had a Fraternal Order of Police emblem on the license plate of his car.

It was not clear Thursday if the FOP would provide legal representation for Redanauer, as it often does when police officers are charged with crimes. An FOP spokesperson declined to comment Thursday on the arrest.

“When officers behave in a way that does not honor their oath to protect others from harm and, in fact, create harm, it is made clear that the individual has no place within our ranks and must be removed,” Outlaw said.

Redanauer, hired by the department in 1991, was assigned to the Northwest Detectives division, according to city payroll records.

In 2005, a fellow officer filed a federal lawsuit alleging that Redanauer recklessly shot him while they were trying to make an arrest, when Redanauer allegedly “had no justification to use deadly force.” In that shooting, which took place in 2003, police officials had initially claimed that the shot was fired by an unidentified gunman. The lawsuit was settled in 2007.

In 2016, Redanauer was sued in Common Pleas Court in a personal injury case that was settled the following year. A woman had gone to Northwest Detectives to file a police report for a domestic violence incident, but Redanauer allegedly threw her against a vending machine when she complained about not getting prompt service, according to her attorney, Paul Messing.

“The treatment she was subjected to was just awful,” Messing said of his client, who sustained minor injuries.

The suit also alleged that Redanauer handcuffed and detained the woman on fabricated harassment charges. Those charges were later dismissed by a judge, according to Messing.

Redanauer’s arrest follows that of at least nine other Philadelphia police officers since mid-January on a wide range of crimes, including perjury, assault, conspiracy, obstruction of justice, DUI, aggravated assault, and sexually assaulting minors.