A FORMER 10-year Philadelphia police officer sat in a courtroom yesterday as a defendant and was ordered to stand trial for false imprisonment and related charges.
The ex-cop, Kevin Corcoran, 33, found himself on the wrong side of the law for allegedly snatching a retired military veteran off a Center City street, cuffing him, throwing him face-first into the back of his marked SUV and driving him to a dark alley in the early-morning hours of March 31.
"I was very scared," the alleged victim, Roderick King, of Lansdale, testified during the ex-cop's preliminary hearing. "I thought I was going to get beaten up."
King, a retired Air Force veteran who served in Iraq, said the harrowing encounter began at 2 a.m. when he and three friends were nearly hit by Corcoran's SUV when he made an illegal turn in front of them near 13th and Lombard streets. They had just left a bar.
Thomas Stenberg, one of the friends, shouted at the officer about his driving, which prompted Corcoran to park his vehicle and get aggressive, said King and another friend, Brian Jackson.
While walking toward them, the officer asked whether the friends had a problem with his "f---ing" driving, warned them not to "f---ing" touch him, shoved the men in their chests and knocked cellphones from their hands as they filmed the confrontation, King and Jackson testified.
King said he took out his cellphone and started filming because of Corcoran's aggressive and inappropriate behavior.
After being handcuffed and thrown into the SUV, King said, he was never informed of his Miranda rights nor told why he was being arrested. He said the cop drove for about five minutes and parked in a dark alley.
In an attempt to calm Corcoran, King said, he told the cop that he was an Air Force veteran. Corcoran then drove him back to the area where Jackson, Stenberg and friend Sara Tice were still standing, said King, who was released without being charged with a crime.
In successfully arguing that Municipal Judge David Shuter should hold Corcoran for trial on counts of false imprisonment, official oppression and obstruction of justice, Assistant District Attorney Michael Bonner said the defendant "became a bully with a badge."
Corcoran, who has been fired, "kidnapped" King simply because he did not like what someone said to him, said Bonner, who noted that the 17th District officer was in the 3rd District at the time of the alleged incident.
Defense attorney Fortunato Perri said all the charges should be dropped because his client did what he thought was reasonable at the time and ultimately gave King a break by not charging him.
"Officer Corcoran is an innocent man. He's a good and decent Philadelphia police officer, he loves his job and we're satisfied that at the end of the day he will be acquitted of all of the charges," Perri said after leaving court.
He ascribed King's motivation in the case to a $1 million federal lawsuit that he and his three friends have filed against the city.
"No one should be afraid that a police officer can pick you up and snatch you off the street just on a whim and not report it to anybody," said attorney Kevin Mincey, who is representing King and his three friends in the federal suit.