Friday, July 31, 2020

Lawyer For Fired SWAT Team Member: The Truth Is Coming Out!

By Ralph Cipriano

The lawyer for Richard Nicoletti, the SWAT team member fired by the police commissioner for pepper-spraying protesters in the face, has some bad news for the police commissioner, the mayor, as well as our corrupt district attorney.

The truth is coming out. That means that the false arrest of Nicoletti staged by headline-hunting D.A. Larry Krasner will be exposed for the sham it was. And so will the phony cover up story peddled by Mayor Jim Kenney and Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw to a gullible press corps, that  Outlaw supposedly had never approved the use of tear gas on the protesters. Along with the phony story that Nicoletti had supposedly disobeyed orders by blasting protesters in the face with department-issued pepper spray.

All those lies and the official cover up are destined to dissipate like white smoke and tear gas over the Vine Street Expressway. And, according to Nicoletti's supremely confident-sounding lawyer, it can't happen soon enough.

"We look forward to the opportunity to present everything that we've learned in a courtroom," Fortunato Perri Jr. said today. And, after all that evidence is presented, Perri stated, "There is no doubt in our minds that Officer Nicoletti will be exonerated." 

Why does Perri think that Nicoletti will be cleared of the three charges filed against him by such a formidable legal mind as District Attorney Krasner, charges that alleged simple assault, reckless endangerment and possession of an instrument of crime?

Because on June 1st, those youthful, idealistic and oh so peaceful protesters were attempting to block traffic on the Vine Street Expressway during rush hour. That's when "Officer Nicoletti was directed specifically by commanders as a member of the elite SWAT unit to clear the highway," Perri said.

Perri then divulged an obvious truth that has so far eluded the collective wisdom of our mayor, district attorney, and the police commissioner; The New York Times during their entire infamous 10-minute video, as well as the gullible press corps in this town headed by the diehard but braindead Progressives at The Philadelphia Inquirer.

"We all know that the highway was overrun by protesters that were causing an extremely dangerous situation," Perri said. "By closing down the highway the way they did, they were putting the safety of the protesters, and the operators of vehicles on the highway, in great danger."

That's why blocking a highway is illegal. And prior to the June 1st protest, Nicoletti and other members of the SWAT team had received approval to use nonlethal force on protesters breaking the law from "the highest levels of the city administration, including the mayor, the police commissioner and the city managing director," Perri said.

All of those top officials, Perri said, "authorized the plan that included the use of tear gas, pepper spray, and rubber bullets."

How do we know this? Because those top officials said so. 

On June 1st, Outlaw released a written statement that said, "Today's deployment of tear gas was a means to safely diffuse a volatile and dangerous situation, and restore order, when it became increasingly clear that other measures were ineffective in accomplishing that necessary objective." 

On June 1st, Mayor Kenney released his own statement that said the decision to use tear gas "was made because we simply cannot condone behaviors that endanger the lives of others, like traversing an open highway. The officers on that site were concerned about the safety of protesters as well as those who may be driving on the highway."

After Kenney and Outlaw issued those statements, "They spent weeks defending the decision to let the police use tear gas," Perri said. Then, at a June 25th press conference, Perri said, "they abruptly apologized for implementing that plan."

All because of that New York Times video that left Outlaw "disgusted" and "sickened beyond description" when she watched it and saw officers actually carrying out her orders. 

But the fact that Outlaw changed her tune doesn't change the fact that on June 1st, "Nicoletti was legally justified in following directives and using less than lethal force to clear the highway," Perri said. 

And that includes Nicoletti lifting the masks and goggles that the protesters wore for protection before blasting them in the face with pepper spray, while the protesters were sitting on the highway blocking traffic, and breaking the law.

Sorry snowflakes. Sorry New York Times, but you blew this one.

I asked Perri if he had heard what I had been told by several police sources, that on the day before the protest on the Vine Street Expressway, that SWAT team members had personally briefed Commissioner Outlaw on plans to use nonlethal force on protesters who were rioting, looting, and setting arson fires on 52nd Street.

And that one member of the SWAT team had even personally fitted Outlaw with a gas mask.

"We have learned that same information," Perri stated, "and we are making every effort to confirm that was in fact true."

I asked Perri if he had heard what I had also been told by police sources, that on the day of the Vine Street Expressway protests, when Deputy Police Commissioner Dennis Wilson was talking on the phone with Police Commissioner Outlaw, that there were witnesses beside both Wilson and Outlaw at the time that overheard their conversation.

And that those witnesses could contradict, as would phone records, the cover story put out by Kenney and Outlaw. And show that Wilson, described by multiple police sources as the ultimate company man, and cover-your-ass kind of guy, had both sought and received final permission from the police commissioner before the tear gas canisters started flying.

"We are aware of the same information and we are taking all steps to confirm the accuracy of that information," Perri said. "That appears to be accurate on its face based on her [Outlaw's] own statements."

But at the June 25th press conference, Deputy Police Commissioner Wilson stood at the podium and took the entire blame for the teargassing. 

"I didn't call the commissioner, I gave the  approval," Wilson said in his mea culpa. "And it was me and me alone."

Wilson then announced that for "violating the rules of engagement and the commissioner's trust, I'm going to take a voluntary demotion" to chief inspector. "Falling on the sword," was how Police a no-doubt Commissioner Danielle Outlaw characterized it.

Why did Wilson take the fall, along with a voluntary demotion to chief inspector, and an annual pay cut of $30,000? Because, as Big Trial has previously, reported, according to police sources, the D.A. had threatened Wilson with arrest. And if convicted, under Pennsylvania law, Wilson stood to lose not only his pension, but also a DROP bonus of some $800,000.

At the June 25th press conference, Mayor Kenney somehow forgot that the protesters who were teargassed were caught in the act of breaking the law when he stated:

"I apologize sincerely to the peaceful protesters out there on that highway on June 1st who were simply choosing to exercise their right to speak out against injustice and institutional racism."

Nice Progressive rewrite of the facts, Mr. Mayor. That may qualify you for a job at The New York Times or The Philadelphia Inquirer. But as the mayor, it amounts to a betrayal of every cop in uniform that you sent off into battle, as well as a lie to every citizen. 

All to protect your own fat ass.

In engaging in their deception, Kenney and Outlaw -- as well as Krasner -- tarred and feathered a decorated warrior cop who was out doing what his superiors had ordered him to do.

In today's interview, Perri praised Nicoletti as a "well respected member of an elite SWAT unit" who had previously defended the nation as an Army Ranger during three tours of active combat in Afghanistan. 

Perri, no slouch himself, is a former prosecutor in the District Attorney's office with more than 30 years experience as a criminal defense trial lawyer.

I certainly like Perri's chances going up against the inept, inexperienced prosecutors in Krasner's office. They've got an impressive record when it comes to dropping or downgrading charges, or declining to prosecute cases. 

But when it comes to trying a case in court, Krasner's sad sack team of flunkies is best known for losing. 

After all the evidence is presented in court, Perri says, he expects that Officer Nicoletti will get his job back, with back pay of course.

And then he'll be free to return to doing what he loves to do. According to Perri, that means continuing "to protect and serve the law-abiding citizens of Philadelphia."


  1. Blocking a roadway has never been considered by the courts to be protected by the 1st amendment as "peaceful demonstration". Jones v. Parmley, 465 F.3d 46, 56–58 (2d Cir.2006) (citing Cantwell v. Connecticut, 310 U.S. 296, 308–309, 60 S.Ct. 900, 84 L.Ed. 1213 (1940)).

  2. I felt something was amidst when the Managing Director (Brian Abernathy) abruptly resigned his position. It reminded me when General Leo Brooks Jr resigned as Managing Director, under Mayor Wilson Goode's administration, when they authorized the two bombings on MOVE, at Osage Avenue.

  3. Replies
    1. George, a voice from the past......just remember, the CARDINAL will never die.....If you want, I can put in a good word and get you back into the Deficient Attorney's Orifice.

      Mike Skiendzielewski, Captain (Retired), PPD

  4. Whit Ayres, a political consultant said there are three keys to credibility.

    Never Defend the Indefensible.
    Never Deny the Undeniable.
    Never Lie.

  5. The police will win and, the higher ups in city government will see some jail time over this as well other crimes they had their dirty hands in.

  6. My vote is for Richie Nicoletti.

  7. Larry Platt, erstwhile journalist/editor, now Publisher of the non-profit Forum, Philadelphia Citizen, claims in his latest posting that he had an interview with the eminently failed Police Commissioner Outlaw.

    At best, the exchange represents a fantasy or wet dream for the weakly inspired proposals and solutions offered for Philadelphia Police Reform.

    I hope that those on this Blog with Law Enforcement Experience will take the time to examine these ideas and share your thoughts.

    In my opinion, this Journalist and Police Commissioner may be smoking some serious crack and should be forced to submit to testing.

  8. It’s sickening that this is how the city & department treat a war veteran that’s dedicated his life to defending complete strangers. Philly jurys are notoriously biased when it comes to race and police officers. I hope he can get a fair trial.

    1. You wanna hear sickening? This morning I heard, on KYW 1060, a piece, an actual PLUG, for some ambulance-chasing shyster outfit trying to recruit any of these snowflake/terrorists who "may have" been sprayed "unjustly" by police with tear gas on the Vine Street expressway OR West Philly! The nerve of these slugs! The lawyers, the journalists, and the terrorists want to sue US!

  9. I don’t understand all of the outrage over him removing her goggles to use the oc spray. After all, it is intended to be sprayed into the eyes, correct? If an officer is in a gun battle with someone that’s wearing a bulletproof vest, is the officer supposed to aim for the vest? No, you adapt and overcome the obstacle to make sure you’re effective, which is
    what he did. Good for him for doing his job.

    And why is this 10 minute EDITED NY Times video the Holy Grail all of the sudden? Let’s see the unedited version of everything that went down. Who am I kidding, that will never happen because god forbid it may show that the police were justified, lord knows we can’t have that especially in this city.

  10. Is this all comes out,and the lies and cover ups get e posed, will the Mayor, PC, and DA still have jobs or can this be a reason to get rid of them?


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