The prosecution in the trial of a SEPTA police officer accused of roughing up a nurse who had wanted to submit a complaint against him ended its case Thursday with testimony from a police supervisor that both helped and hurt the accused.
SEPTA Police Lt. Garrett Marsh told a Philadelphia Common Pleas Court jury that he saw Officer Douglas Ioven struggling to control a handcuffed woman during the Christmas morning incident at Suburban Station in 2013.
"When I went down the hallway, I saw the officer struggling with a black female," Marsh said. "She seemed to be pulling him around in circles."
Marsh, the police supervisor at Suburban Station, said he was the second officer to arrive on the scene that morning, and described Muibat Williamson as yelling and resisting Ioven's efforts to control her.
Other witnesses have described her as upset but not combative.
But Marsh also said Williamson quickly calmed down when he reassured her that she could tell her story and that he would remove the handcuffs.
Ioven, 44, a transit officer for 11 years, was fired after the incident, and is on trial on charges of witness retaliation and intimidation, official oppression, assault, and other counts.
The charges involve his confrontation with Williamson, 54, a neurology nurse at Einstein Medical Center and Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, in a Dunkin' Donuts shop about 8 a.m. The prosecution and Williamson maintain that Ioven cut in line and stepped on her foot as he brushed past her to leave.
Williamson said she confronted Ioven and demanded an apology, which he refused to give.
Minutes later, as Williamson knocked on the door of SEPTA's concourse police station, she said, Ioven cursed and pursued her. She accused the officer of banging her head against an ATM, then handcuffing her. She was initially charged with disorderly conduct.
Marsh also testified he never heard Williamson knocking on the door of the concourse mini-station. Ioven told investigators that she was pounding on the glass window when he told her to stop, and that she fled and he pursued her.
Defense attorney Joseph Silvestro Jr. began his case Thursday with two SEPTA employees who testified about seeing part of Williamson's arrest.
Although Ioven has not disclosed whether he will testify, Silvestro is expected to complete the defense case when the trial resumes Monday.
Judge Anne Marie Coyle told Silvestro and Assistant District Attorney Andrew Wellbrock she wants the jury to begin deliberating Monday.
Before any testimony, however, Coyle said, she will decide whether to grant Silvestro's motion to acquit Ioven of the most serious charges - witness intimidation and retaliation, obstruction of law, and false imprisonment - because of lack of evidence.
Wellbrock has argued that Ioven was ill-tempered that morning and became angry when Williamson demanded an apology. Ioven is accused of chasing, cuffing, and charging Williamson to dissuade her from filing a complaint with his superiors.
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