Thursday, March 5, 2020

Detective: D.A. Conspired To Maliciously Prosecute Me For Telling The Truth About An Officer-Involved Shooting

DAs Krasner & Tripp Philadelphia Tribune photo/Michael D'Onofrio
By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

In an explosive whistleblower lawsuit being waged in U.S. District Court, Police Detective Derrick Jacobs has charged District Attorney Larry Krasner and Assistant D.A. Tracy Tripp with conspiring to maliciously prosecute him because he refused to change his testimony about his investigation into an officer-involved shooting.

In a 42-page response filed Monday to fight a motion by the city to dismiss his lawsuit, the detective states that in retaliation for his efforts to expose corruption in the D.A.'s office, Krasner and Tripp conspired to have a grand jury indict Jacobs for something he didn't do, leaking grand jury secrets.

The reason why Krasner and Tripp threatened to arrest him, Jacobs asserts in his response brief, is because he refused to change his story about his 2017 investigation of an officer-involved shooting that exonerated Officer Ryan Pownall. The detective also charges that in response to his activities as a whistleblower, by speaking out about corruption in  the D.A.'s office on a recent "Search Warrant" podcast, where he was interviewed by a trio of retired cops, the city has served notice that it intends to suspend or possibly fire the detective known as "Jake" for exercising his First Amendment rights. It's a story you won't read in the Inquirer.


In his federal lawsuit, Jacobs, who is acting as his own lawyer, stated that he was "simply trying to expose corruption and misconduct in the prosecution of Officer Ryan Pownall," when he spoke out on the cop-hosted podcast.

Jacobs' troubles began on June 8, 2017, when he was involved in an investigation of an officer-involved shooting.

"Detective Derrick Jacobs became an integral part of the investigation due to involvement in interviewing the majority of 'fact' witnesses with integrity and honesty, which did not conform to the District Attorney's Office political agenda," Jacobs wrote. "This caused the District Attorney's office to surgically remove me from the investigation of Officer Pownall."

The D.A.'s office "persecuted" Jacobs, the detective wrote in his response brief, "in an effort to stop, deter and eliminate him from exposing exculpatory evidence in the prosecution of Police Officer Ryan Pownall."

On Aug. 2, 2018, Assistant District Attorney Tracy Tripp called Jacobs, to go over his "potential grand jury testimony," Jacobs wrote. Jacobs told Tripp that Officer Pownall had already been cleared in the shooting by the state Attorney General's office, after the AG interviewed Pownall and a key witness, Terrence Freeman.

On June 8, 2017, Freeman was riding in the back of Officer Pownall's police car as the officer  transported Freeman and his two children to the Special Victims Unit. Along the way, Pownall saw David Jones weaving in and out of traffic while driving recklessly on his dirt bike, which is illegal to operate on the streets of Philadelphia.

Pownall got out of his squad car and confronted Jones. When the cop frisked Jones, he discovered a gun in Jones' waistband. During a fight that ensued, the officer drew his gun and told Jones not to grab his weapon. Pownall tried to shoot Jones during the struggle, but his gun jammed. Jones then fled on foot and the officer fired three times, killing Jones.

In Jacobs' view, the officer did nothing wrong.

"Jones was armed," Jacobs previously told Big Trial. And during the fight between the two men, "Pownall believed he was shooting Jones to protect himself and possibly Freeman and his children as well," Jacobs said.

After the shooting, Pownall was fired by then Police Commissioner Richard Ross. Krasner subsequently charged the former cop with murder and he was held without bail. It was the first time in 20 years that a Philadelphia officer had been charged after a police shooting. A judge subsequently reduced the charge to third-degree murder and Pownall was released on bail.

After Jacobs shared his views about the shooting with ADA Tripp, she "knew Jacobs was not on the same page and would not go along with the criminal narrative" that Pownall was a murderer, Jacobs wrote. So Tripp "began to develop a plan to keep him [Jacobs] silent, starting with the the withholding of Jacobs' exculpatory grand jury testimony and ending with another criminal abuse of the court by initiating criminal proceedings against Jacobs, which she knew was false."

On Sept. 4, 2018, Krasner and Tripp held a press conference to announce that they would be filing murder charges against Pownall as a result of a grand jury indictment that Jacobs said was based on "only false, misleading or perjured testimony."

Then, according to Jacobs, the D.A. retaliated against him. On Sept. 27, 2018, ADA Tripp told Lt. Jason Hendershot, the commanding officer of the Officer Involved Shooting Investigation Unit [OIAI] of which Jacobs was a member of, that she would be investigating members of his unit for leaking grand jury information. The officer she subsequently targeted was Jacobs.

On Nov. 9, 2018, "criminal proceedings were initiated against Derrick Jacobs for leaking grand jury information." ADA Tripp subsequently informed Lt. Hendershot that "she was withdrawing prosecution against Jacobs because the transcripts for the case were lost."

In his response brief, Jacobs described the alleged missing grand jury transcripts as a "blatant lie to cover up corruption." According to Jacobs, Tripp also told Hendershot that she had a private conversation with Judge Robert Coleman, and that as a result, the judge was supposed to conduct a "fake admonishment" of Jacobs to "scare him."

Jacobs writes that he was never informed of these "alleged conversations" and that no documents exist that would support the charges of leaking grand jury secrets that were filed against Jacobs.

"To be 100 percent clear, Jacobs had zero knowledge of information as it related to the grand jury," Jacobs wrote. "Jacobs had zero information on grand jury witnesses. Jacobs had zero information on testimony."

"Jacobs was never presented as a witness during the grand jury proceedings [other than to be sworn in]," he wrote. "Assistant District Attorney Tracy Tripp knew Jacobs possessed zero information regarding HER grand jury but violated his constitutional rights by initiating a criminal prosecution against Jacobs without merit, only retaliation once she learned Jacobs was attempting to expose the District Attorney's office corruption and prosecutorial misconduct. The only reason the charges were initiated was to ensure Jacobs' silence and defame his reputation and integrity."

In his response brief, Jacobs also posed a question. "If the indictment of Officer Pownall was based upon current law passed by the state Legislature, why is the District Attorney's office now trying to have the law retroactively changed? In all of my geometry classes square pegs never fit into round holes. No matter you tried to force it."

The D.A.'s office has argued that current state law that says police officers can use deadly force if someone commits a felony and is attempting to escape arrest violates the state constitution and undercuts Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable search and seizure.

In his brief, Jacobs charges the D.A.'s office with conspiring with members of Black Lives Matter to intimidate witness Freeman into changing his testimony.

The D.A.'s retaliation against Jacobs was also about race, the detective says.

"The prosecution of Detective Jacobs was also initiated because he is the only African American" in the OISI unit, Jacobs wrote. "And his race presented a problem in the prosecution of Officer Pownall," which Jacobs described as a "race, not merit based prosecution."

In turn, Jacobs charges, his own police department is now conspiring against him.

"When Jacobs went public with the information contained in his federal lawsuit and attempted to publicly expose the corruption, the District Attorney's office has now conspired with high ranking members of the Philadelphia Police Department to silence Jacobs," he wrote. "On Jan. 27, 2020, disciplinary charges up to termination of employment have been initiated against Jacobs by high ranking members of the Philadelphia Police Department."

He identified the high-ranking officers to include then-Commissioner Christine Coulter, and Deputy Commissioner Dennis Wilson. According to Jacobs, his superiors were threatening him "for exposing the criminal corruption of the District Attorney's Office."

Jacobs said the police department and the D.A.'s office were also "trying to remove" Jacobs from the OISI unit "so that he will not be in a position to observe and report future nefarious acts." When Jacobs attempted to report this to Deputy Commissioner Wilson, he wrote, Wilson informed him that "there is nothing he could do about the District Attorney's office victimization of me."

According to Jacobs' lawsuit, he's a whistleblower who needs protection.

"I had nothing to gain and everything to lose by coming forward," he wrote. "I did what was right. I am now being punished and ostracized by political and departmental operatives claiming to be advocates of the citizens of Philadelphia."

Jacobs also charged that the D.A.'s office investigated the wrong person for grand jury leaks.

"Let's talk about grand jury leaks," he wrote in his brief. "On Sept. 4, 2018, Officer Pownall was indicted. How did Asa Khalif [of Black Lives Matter] know on Sept. 1, 2018 of the imminent indictment? Who was in Krasner's and Tripp's inner circle that possessed that information?"

On Sept. 1, 2018, Khalif tweeted "According to my sources . . . former Police Officer Ryan Pownall who murdered David Jones will turn himself in on Tuesday. It's about time he was arrested. #Justice4DavidJones. #BlackLivesMatter."

In his response brief, Jacobs included a picture of a smiling D.A. Krsanser flanked by members of Black Lives Matter that included Asa Khalif.

As part of his court filing, Jacobs attached documents that represent his formal interactions with his superiors. Such as on Nov. 18, 2019, when he attempted to meet with then Police Commissioner Christine Coulter to discuss an "urgent matter," such as "criminal acts that were committed against me by the Philadelphia District Attorney's office and Assistant District Attorney Tracy Tripp as a result of my performance and duties as a Philadelphia police detective. "

The memorandum was stamped "Disapproved" by a chief inspector of the detective bureau and "Disapproved"on Nov. 21, 2019 by the deputy commissioner of special operations.

On Jan. 27th, Jacobs wrote to Deputy Commissioner Wilson to memorialize how Jacobs had "brought to your attention in great detail the corruption and criminality" of the D.A.'s office. And Jacobs wrote, "in your office, you chose to ignore it by stating, 'There is nothing you can do about how the District Attorney's office operates."

"Self-preservation is your motto," Jacobs wrote Wilson. "You don't want to upset the people that hold your fate in their hands. When I chose to protect me and my family, you attack what you believe is easy prey. Hypocrisy is an ugly word."

Jacobs also writes about how his superiors refused his request to refer his situation to the U.S. Attorney's office.

"I came to you and the commissioner for help and assistance," Jacobs wrote Wilson. "You chose to threaten me and my employment. You should get TOUGH on CRIMINALS and not sworn law enforcement officers who are doing their job to protect the department and community you should be representing. You should investigate the complaint and not threaten the victim initiating the complaint."

On Jan. 30th, Jacobs was interviewed by Lt. Hendershot concerning "A podcast named 'Search Warrant' Episode: Clear and Present Danger."

"I would like to reiterate that I am a whistleblower into corruption at the Philadelphia D.A's office," he wrote. He expressed his frustration that his repeated complaints about corruption in the district attorney's office have fallen on deaf ears. "To date, they have not, to my knowledge, started an investigation into this corruption," he wrote about his superiors, "but swiftly they have started an investigation against me, the whistleblower."

Jacobs also attached as an exhibit the formal charges filed against him on Feb. 11th by his department for "conduct unbecoming."

He was charged with neglect of duty, and failure to comply with the orders, directives, memorandums and regulations of his superiors. He was also charged with disobedience for "communicating or imparting local, state, or federal law enforcement information without authority or to unauthorized persons."

And that's how the Philadelphia Police Department handles a whistleblower.

7 comments:

  1. Sounds like certain crumb Law Enforcement bosses in the PPD and the DA's office are keen on punishing and retaliating against the good guys who come forward truthfully. Good luck Detective Jacobs hopefully the US Attorney will step in.

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  2. Amazing how a person is elected DA, claiming rampant corruption in that office and how he will clear it out, engages in the most nefarious means of corruption possible in the pursuit of his agenda.

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  3. Hopefully Outlaw does her homework. There is a reason Coulter and the other higher ups are named in these lawsuits! Bring in your command staff from the outside! Please!!

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  4. Hopefully Outlaw can see now the type of Commanders that are in place right now. Since when does the PPD start kissing the DA Office rear end? U have a Detective that is being threatened etc and they put heads in the sand! Appoint a Deputy that will tell the DA Office "I DONT WORK FOR YOU NOR ARE U GOING TO DICTATE ANYTHING TO ME" DEMOTE NOW AND START FRESH!!!

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  5. This all started under the watch of cowardly Commissioner Chuck Ramsey and at the time Deputy Commissioner Ross. They never pushed back on the DA's Office (Currently Federally Incarcerated Rufus Seth Williams and the corrupt, immoral, unethical piece of crap Ed McCann). Both Ramsey and Ross knew of Rufus and McCann's ongoing corruption and did nothing to stand up to them or stop them. Ramsey and Ross repeatedly sacrificed the good officers of the department rather than publicly denounce what they knew was going on in the District Attorney's Office. It is no surprise that we have remnants of that old bury your head in the sand mentality still present in the department who are now also willing to sacrifice Detective Jacobs for their own personal gain.

    To the case you have written about here with Detective Jacobs. Perhaps questions should be asked regarding a meeting held between members of the police department, Tracy Tripp and Patricia Cummings prior to the attack upon Detective Jacobs in which the discussion surrounded why if the DA's Office felt the Detective did something wrong, why didn't the members of the DA's Office take several other appropriate steps to address the belief. (Which of course was a made up belief as stated by Detective Jacobs in an effort to silence him). During this meeting, Tracy Tripp is known to have stated that she has read numerous statements from police officers who were both involved in shootings and witnessed police shootings and as far as she was concerned all of the statements were very similar to one another and could not be believed given the known fact that there is a blue wall of silence in the department. This is the Assistant District Attorney who reviews all officer involved shootings and has stated openly that she cannot be impartial when it comes to police officers involved in shootings or those officers who have witnessed another officer involved in a shooting incident. She has openly stated that she does not trust the police. Yes, a prosecutor who oversees officer involved shooting incidents. It was said that as Tracy Tripp made these damning, outrageous, inflammatory, bias, disgusting statements, Patricia Cummings simply sat there nodding her head in approval of Tripp's statements while writing notes without saying a word.

    There was corruption in the District Attorney's Office under Rufus Seth Williams and Ed McCann that went unchecked by many who could have and should have challenged them instead of sacrificing others for their own personal interest and gain. As a result, Rufus, McCann and others are directly responsible for the election of this now corrupt, immoral and unethical piece of crap that now walks the halls of the DA's Office free to hire those who think as he does and have devastated law and order in this city.

    Detective Jacobs, I pray that you are successful in exposing all who are wrongfully trying to persecute you.

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  6. When is G. Lamar Stewart being named Chief County Detective Krasner?

    ReplyDelete
  7. oh god “acting as his own lawyer”
    A lawyers worst client is themselves.

    ReplyDelete

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