Skip to content
Crime & Justice
Link copied to clipboard

'Excuse my French': Cop recounts harrowing aftermath of fellow officer's shooting

Police officer testifies about racing to help fellow officer after 2016 shooting.

Frame grab of surveillance footage of shooting of Officer Jesse Hartnett.
Frame grab of surveillance footage of shooting of Officer Jesse Hartnett.Read moreStaff

Philadelphia Police Officers Ronald Green and Michael Kane Jr. had just pulled into the parking lot of the 18th Police District at 55th and Pine Streets when word came over their car radio that shots had been fired a few blocks away. En route to investigate, they heard another dispatch — this time from Officer Jesse Hartnett, who screamed that he'd been hit and was bleeding heavily at 60th and Spruce Streets in West Philadelphia.

"To hear that, it sent a shock through me," Green said Friday in a torrent of emotional testimony in the trial of accused gunman Edward Archer. "It doubled my speed to the location."

Archer, 32,  is charged with attempted murder, assault on a law enforcement officer, and related counts. He has refused to formally enter a plea to the charges from the unprovoked attack on Hartnett in his patrol car on the night of Jan. 7, 2016. After his arrest nearby, Archer allegedly told a detective he was motivated by devotion to Allah and the Islamic State — a claim that drew national attention, although authorities found no proof of a connection to any terror group.

Green, a 20-year veteran of the force, told the jury — nine women, three men, four alternates — that he'd worked with Hartnett. He said the personal connection had led him to "floor it" to reach the injured officer, shot three times in the left arm while alone in his squad car just after 11:40 p.m.

Arriving at the crime scene, Green said, he found Hartnett standing at his open front passenger door, the trunk lid raised, and both front side windows shattered by bullets. Hartnett, holding his arm, was covered in blood from his waist to his shoes — so much that Green thought his colleague had been shot in a leg.

"The first thing he asked me was to get the tourniquet out of his trunk," said Green.

"What did you say" in response, asked Assistant District Attorney Allison Borgatti.

Turning to the jury, Green replied, "Excuse my French. I said, 'F— the tourniquet, get in the car.'" Green said that he and Kane put Hartnett in the back seat of their patrol car and headed for Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, a few minutes away on 39th Street in University City.

"It was probably the longest ride in the shortest amount of time that I have ever taken," said Green, who noted that Hartnett was sliding around on the blood-slick back seat, his words drowned out by the car's blaring sirens. Green's attention was focused on getting to the hospital and on listening to the police radio for a description of  the shooter. He alerted the hospital, and navigated through a "train of police cars" that had converged near the crime scene from every part of the city, he said.

When Borgatti asked about the large number of police cars, Green explained: "An officer shot is a citywide call. … It's the highest priority."

Green appeared generally poised during his testimony, but at times seemed angered at the memory. He repeatedly mentioned the blood — on the street, in his car, on Hartnett's clothes. "It was so much blood," Green said.

"I'm sorry, I'm a 20-year veteran. I've seen a lot of things, but it's traumatic to see one of your brothers, someone you know" in such a situation, Green said.

Green's passionate testimony, driven by prosecutor Borgatti repeatedly asking him what he was thinking at various times after the shooting, drew the ire of defense attorney Trevan Borum. "I wouldn't be doing my job if I didn't tell the commonwealth that questions like that are inappropriate," Borum told Common Pleas Court Judge Leon W. Tucker after the jury had been escorted from the courtroom.

Considering the nature of the incident, Borgatti said, "obviously the responses are going to be emotional."

Archer, 32, who on Monday at the start of jury selection told the judge that his two court-appointed lawyers do not represent him, watched Friday's proceedings passively. He is not expected to testify.

Hartnett is scheduled to testify when the trial resumes next week.