A FORMER Philly cop told a federal jury in a civil case yesterday that in September 2013, when he was walking to a bus stop, two police officers jumped out of a patrol car, grabbed him, stopped him for no reason, and verbally and physically abused him.
"The tugging and pulling was bad enough. I was in pain," said Herbert Spellman, 51, who had been injured while on duty in a 2006 auto accident. "Then [for them] to start talking to you like you are a little kid! I'm a grown man . . . I'm a human being. I'm an American citizen."
Attorney Paul Messing filed a lawsuit in June on behalf of Spellman against the two cops, Officers David O'Connor and Brad Momme, of the 14th Police District, based at Haines Street and Germantown Avenue.
Spellman contends that he was stopped because he is black. The two cops are white.
Spellman testified that on Sept. 10, 2013, he was attending a school orientation for his son, when his wife called him about 7 p.m. saying she didn't have her house key and needed him to go home to let her into their house.
He was walking on Wister Street near 65th Avenue, on the border of East Germantown and West Oak Lane, when a cop car pulled up at an angle and Momme and O'Connor "jumped out" and "grabbed me," Spellman said.
He said he told them he was an injured ex-cop. He said that Momme "kept trying to go through my pockets." He said he told them he was trying to get home to his wife, and tried to explain he had been a cop for nearly 20 years, when Momme told him to "shut the f--- up" and O'Connor asked, "Are you on crack?"
He said the cops put him against their car and forced him to keep his hands up even though he told them it hurt to do so because of his past injury.
O'Connor, 31, testified that he and Momme, 29, stopped Spellman after they saw him approach a man known by cops to sell drugs at the corner of Wister and Price streets.
O'Connor said the drug dealer said something to Spellman, noticed the cop car, then made a hand motion to Spellman as if he were waving Spellman off, and that Spellman then walked the other way.
"I believed I interrupted a drug transaction," O'Connor said under questioning by Chief Deputy City Solicitor Craig Straw of the city Law Department, which is representing the two cops.
O'Connor said that after he and Momme got out of the car, they asked Spellman to remove his left hand from his waistband area. Spellman identified himself as an "off-duty" cop, O'Connor said, making O'Connor think that Spellman could have a gun.
Spellman showed what "appeared to be a badge," but "would not allow us to inspect his badge," said O'Connor, who contended that Spellman was "very irate and very noncompliant."
O'Connor said that Spellman did not appear to be in pain when he put his hands up on the patrol car. He said that Spellman's race had nothing to do with his being stopped on the street.
Spellman was not cuffed. After more cops and a supervisor arrived, Spellman was patted down and was allowed to leave, O'Connor said.
The trial continues today.