The city has opened its municipal wallet once again to settle the latest lawsuit filed against Philadelphia Police Officer Cyrus Mann — this time for $600,000, a city official said Wednesday. Mann remains on the force despite having shot three people in three years, one fatally.
Gregory Porterfield, 59, who survived being shot eight times by Mann, 34, and his partner Officer Joseph Reiber during a June 2014 traffic stop in Lawncrest, settled his federal excessive-force lawsuit against the officers and the city last Friday, according to Andrew Richman, chief of staff for the city's Law Department.
The settlement brings to more than $1.2 million the amount of taxpayer money the city has paid to settle suits in which Mann is a defendant. That includes $465,000 paid to the family of Hassan Pratt, 28, who was fatally shot by Mann during an August 2012 traffic stop in West Philadelphia. Mann was fired for killing Pratt in 2015 but was rehired and received back pay in 2016 after an arbitrator ruled in his favor.
"It is my opinion that this particular officer should no longer be on the force carrying a gun," attorney Paul Hetznecker, who represented Porterfield in the lawsuit, said Wednesday. "I think everyone should be concerned regarding the circumstances of this case and this particular officer."
Hetznecker said that although the settlement was fair for his client — who has permanent hand, wrist, back, and shoulder damage from the shooting — larger questions linger about how police are policed.
"The question of accountability with respect to the Police Department and the supervision and discipline of their officers in cases involving the use of deadly force remains unresolved," the lawyer said. "The impact of this broader policy issue continues to affect all of the residents of Philadelphia."
Perry Dawes, Pratt's uncle, was dismayed to learn that taxpayers again are paying for Mann's actions.
"Making those payments is a way of sweeping those cases under the rug," he said in an interview Wednesday.
Mike Dunn, spokesperson for Mayor Kenney, said the decision to settle Porterfield's case was driven in part because it was a federal civil rights lawsuit that could have made the city liable for attorneys' fees in addition to money awarded by a jury if it lost at trial.
Of Mann's continued employment with the city, Dunn said: "Cyrus Mann was properly fired by then-Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey and later reinstated by an arbitrator, as allowed for under state law. Mayor Kenney shares Police Commissioner Richard Ross's frustration with the arbitrator's decision and the resulting situation."
He added: "As the commissioner aptly said last year, we are baffled and dismayed when an arbitrator reinstates an officer who has been dismissed under these types of circumstances."
Mann has declined to be interviewed about his actions, and the Fraternal Order of Police could not be reached for comment Wednesday night.
Porterfield, during an interview last year, said Mann and Reiber never said why they stopped him at 9:20 p.m. after he left a worship service, parked briefly, and was driving a friend to get something to eat. Mann later would tell investigators that Porterfield was stopped because one of his brake lights was out.
Mann told investigators that Porterfield seemed nervous, so he ordered him to get out of the car.
When Mann asked whether he had any weapons, Porterfield said, he told the officer that he had a handgun in his pocket. He carried it for protection after a son had been murdered in 2010, although he had no license, Porterfield said.
Although Porterfield maintains that he never took his gun from his pocket, Mann and Reiber, in sworn statements to Internal Affairs investigators, said they opened fire on Porterfield after he drew his gun and fired at them. Both officers said they heard the gun discharge and saw the muzzle flash.
The Internal Affairs investigation found no fired cartridge casings from Porterfield's handgun. Additionally, investigators found lint in the gun's barrel, suggesting it had not been recently fired.
Mann and Reiber were not cited for apparently lying to investigators, and faced no discipline for the shooting. Both remain on the force.