Ryan Perez, the Philadelphia police officer who was notified that he is being fired after being charged this week with disorderly conduct and related counts, had a previously unblemished Police Department record and will work to clear his name in court and get his job back, his attorney said Friday.
“This is an officer who has an otherwise impeccable record as a police officer. He’s been an officer in the 25th District for a good number of years without any Internal Affairs action against him. This is the first time he has had any kind of interaction with those folks,” said defense attorney Steven B. Patton.
Perez, 30, a five-year member of the police force, was charged with two counts of disorderly conduct, criminal mischief, and public drunkenness. Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw has suspended him for 30 days with the intent to dismiss.
Officer Tanya Little, a department spokesperson, said Perez engaged in an act of vandalism during an off-duty incident on Dec. 7, 2019, at approximately 11 p.m. in the 12000 block of Townsend Road. She provided no other details.
But a source familiar with the case said the charges stem from a “neighbor dispute” that had been simmering for some time in Perez’s Far Northeast community. The feud boiled over the night in question, resulting in Perez breaking a window in the neighbor’s house, the source said.
“Any incident, conduct, or course of conduct that indicates that an employee has little or no regard for his/her responsibility as a member of the Police Department, is charged with Conduct Unbecoming, which is a dismissible offense,” said Little.
John McNesby, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5, said he was not aware of the details in the case or if Perez had contacted the union. “The commissioner can terminate anybody for anything. That’s when we have to step in and get the circumstances of the case and move forward that way,” he said.
Anthony Erace, acting executive director of the city’s Police Advisory Board, the civilian oversight agency for the Police Department, said officers should be held to a higher standard than others, and that the decision to terminate Perez was appropriate. His guilt or innocence will be decided in court, he added.
“I hope that higher standards are something we can continue to look forward to in the future,” said Erace, who previously worked eight years as an investigator in the Philadelphia Office of the Inspector General.