A PHILADELPHIA police officer was arrested yesterday for an off-duty incident last fall in which he allegedly drove into a pedestrian - and then threatened to kill the man, shouting a racial slur at him and flashing his gun.
Officer Edward Sawicki III, 33, surrendered to police yesterday morning. He faces charges including terroristic threats, simple assault, possession of an instrument of crime, harassment and disorderly conduct.
Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey suspended Sawicki for 30 days, with intent to dismiss the nine-year veteran officer, who was most recently assigned to North Philly's rough-and-tumble 25th District.
The incident occurred Oct. 20 at 2:45 a.m. as a pedestrian was walking on 9th Street near Wharton in South Philadelphia, according to the District Attorney's Office. Sawicki was backing up in his car when he hit the 37-year-old man in his knee. The victim pounded on the trunk of Sawicki's car with his hand to alert Sawicki that he'd hit him.
Sawicki then leaped out of his car, pulled up his shirt to show his city-issued gun and rushed at the pedestrian, yelling: "N-----, I'll smoke you!" while keeping his hand on his holstered gun, the D.A.'s office said in a statement.
The victim called police, prompting Internal Affairs officers to confiscate Sawicki's gun and launch an investigation into the incident.
It apparently wasn't the first driving mishap to land Sawicki in trouble. A West Philadelphia man sued Sawicki and another officer in January, claiming they beat him and ran him over with their police cruiser during a car stop two years ago.
In that complaint, John Lewis claims that Sawicki and Officer Kelly Robbins stopped a car in which he was a passenger on Jan. 31, 2012, in Fairhill. The officers ordered Lewis and the car's driver to get out and hand over their identification, according to the lawsuit. When Lewis reached for his identification, Sawicki yelled, "He is reaching for something!" and began beating Lewis with his nightstick, the complaint charges. Robbins responded: "You hold him and I will give him the Taser," according to the lawsuit.
Lewis "became afraid for his life, having been assaulted and Tasered by police in the past, and managed to get free," the lawsuit stated. Lewis sprinted down the block - but the officers jumped back in their cruiser and ran him down, according to the lawsuit.
Lewis suffered a fractured pelvis and elbow, a lacerated liver and other injuries in the incident and is suing for medical expenses, emotional distress and punitive damages, according to the complaint.