Monday, May 2, 2022

Dennis Wilson: I Was Demoted Because City Got Too Much 'Heat'

By Ralph Cipriano
In court, the two-year-old cover up orchestrated by Mayor Kenney and Police Commissioner Outlaw  continues to unravel over who really ordered the teargassing of protesters on the Vine Street Expressway. 

The official story, as fabricated at a press conference held by Kenney and Outlaw, is that the decision to deploy tear gas during the George Floyd riots against protesters who were illegally blocking the highway during rush hour was made solely by a rogue and since-demoted deputy police commissioner named Dennis Wilson.

But in an April 4th videotaped deposition in an ongoing federal case, Derrick Jacobs v. City of Philadelphia et al in U.S. District Court, Wilson spoke out for the first time about the teargassing, and here's what he had to say under oath:

"Everyone knew that decision was going to be made," Wilson testified about the use of tear gas. Wilson added that "everybody" included the police commissioner, whom he had just had a cell phone conversation with "immediately before" the tear gas was dropped. 

"And I took a voluntary demotion when the heat, I guess, got too much for the city," Wilson said. 

Wilson's testimony dovetails with what a previous commanding officer had to say on the witness stand in another ongoing case over Outlaw's firing of former SWAT team member Richard Nicoletti for following her orders and using pepper spray on protesters, to clear the Vine Street Expressway.

Last October, Inspector Winton Singletary, the commanding officer of the SWAT team who was at the Vine Street Expressway on June 1, 2020, testified in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court about what happened that day.

On the witness stand, Singletary testified that before the tear gas canisters were launched, he was aware that former deputy Police Commissioner Wilson was in "constant contact" that day with the "on-site incident commanders," whom Singletary identified as Outlaw and Kenney.

Singletary further testified that he heard Wilson say over police radio that he had received final approval to tear gas the protesters, an approval that Singelary said came not only from Outlaw, but also the mayor.

In U.S. District Court, former homicide detective Derrick "Jake" Jacobs, acting as his own lawyer, tried to pin down Wilson about whether Outlaw knew the tear gas was coming.

"So you said that everybody knew that the decision was going to be made?" Jacobs asked. "Do you include Commissioner Outlaw as everyone?"

"I'll --- I'll --- I'll say, I include everybody," Wilson replied. "We were using tear gas. We had a meeting about using tear gas. We had used tear gas. Everyone knew. No one really had a problem with tear gas. This press conference was approximately 30 days after the use."

Indeed, the SWAT team had met with Outlaw days before the riot on the Vine Street Expressway to discuss the use of tear gas during the George Floyd protests that turned violent. The briefing, according to police sources, included members of the SWAT team outfitting Outlaw with a gas mask in case she was onsite when tear gas was deployed.

The day before the Vine Street riots, the cops deployed tear gas in West Philadelphia. 

"Did the incident that occurred on 52nd and Market in West Philadelphia have any bearing on your decision to approve the use of tear gas on 676?" Jacobs asked Wilson.

"I --- I would say it definitely did," Wilson replied. "It was a tool we were using. It's safe to use. No one got hurt in any of these incidents where we used it. It was an approved tool for us. And we were basically in a fight without any outstanding trauma --- which is also ugly." 

The day of the Vine Street teargassing, hundreds of people protesting the murder of George Floyd in police custody tore down a fence before invading the highway during rush hour. Protesters climbed on the cars of motorists caught in the traffic jam. They also attacked a police cruiser with a state trooper inside, who radioed for help.

The orders of the SWAT team that day were to "clear the highway," Inspector Singletary testified, by using tear gas and pepper spray against the protesters.

The tear gas cover up originated at a June 25, 2020 joint press conference held by Kenney and Outlaw, after the New York Times, in a front page story, came after both Philly officials for teargassing  allegedly peaceful protesters. 

As true progressives, with the mighty NYT on their ass, Kenney and Outlaw called the press conference to apologize. But they also had concocted an alibi to take the heat off themselves.

At the press conference, then Deputy Police Commissioner Wilson came to the podium and took the entire blame for the teargassing. 

"I didn't call the commissioner, I gave the approval," Wilson said. "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 Outlaw characterized it at the press conference before she dispatched Wilson with a condescending pat on the back.

Nobody in the police department, however, bought that story. As several cops who knew Wilson told Big Trial, Wilson was the ultimate company man, a cautious cover-your-ass kind of guy who would have never taken such a drastic action such as teargassing protesters in the middle of a riot, with TV helicopters hovering overhead, without first clearing it with his superiors.

So why did Wilson take the fall, along with a voluntary demotion to chief inspector, and an annual pay cut of $26,000, from $206,000 down to $180,000?

Because, as Big Trial has previously reported, according to police sources, Wilson had been told that the D.A. was planning to arrest him. And if convicted, under Pennsylvania law, Wilson stood to not only lose his pension, but also a DROP bonus of some $800,000.

In his deposition, Wilson did not admit that he had lied at the press conference. But he did change his story.

At the press conference Wilson said he was taking a voluntary demotion because he "didn't call the commissioner" to get her final approval to drop tear gas. 

But in his deposition with Jacobs, Wilson said he did speak to Outlaw via cell phone before the tear gas was deployed.

"How long before you approved the use of tear gas, were you in communication with Police Commissioner Outlaw?" Jacobs asked.

"Immediately before," Wilson replied, "but I'm not exactly sure of the time."

Wilson, who was at the Vine Street Expressway the day of the teargassing, was asked if he saw Outlaw there.

"Honestly, I don't know exactly where she was," Wilson said about the police commissioner her troops refer to as "MIA," as in missing in action.

"She was definitely in Philadelphia," Wilson said. "But I don't know the exact location. I did not see her on 676. I know she was not on 676."

In his deposition, Wilson insisted he made the right call on tear gas. 

"I approved over police radio, the use of tear gas." he testified. "We had been using tear gas. Thirty days later or approximately, we were receiving heat, the city was, over that decision. And I was demoted to Chief Inspector."

"I took a voluntary demotion, all resulting from me approving tear gas, which was the right decision that I would make today," Wilson said.

"So I took a demotion. Now, I'm Chief Inspector," Wilson said. "I received tear gas as a tool we use in law enforcement. And so that's the[non] lethal tool. Our SWAT Unit trained on it. And it's safe to use in certain situations. It was the right tool for the job."

Before he took a voluntary demotion, Wilson said he met with Outlaw "two hours before" the press conference where he fell on his sword. 

When Jacobs asked what the pre-press conference meeting with Outlaw was about, Wilson replied, "Basically, it was a hundred percent about the use of tear gas on 676, and the City of Philadelphia, and me and -- and -- and that's all."

"And I wanted to try to walk out with my head held high," Wilson said, referring to after he fell on his sword.

But he claimed during his deposition that he wasn't forced to take the heat for dropping the tear gas. And he wasn't forced to take a demotion.

"So that's --- that's the --- that's the truth there," Wilson stammered. "And that's why I didn't -- There's no way they can force you to do a press conference and say you're going to be demoted. That was my decision."

Wilson's deposition was made in federal court, where former homicide detective Jacobs is suing the city and the Philadelphia D.A.'s office. In the lawsuit, Jacobs charged that the D.A. initiated a grand jury investigation against him after Jacobs exposed what he contended was a corrupt prosecution of former Police Officer Ryan Pownall.

The cop-hating Krasner indicted Pownall for murder, after an internal investigation that Jacobs was involved in cleared Pownall in a white-on-black police shooting. Jacobs, who is black, was threatened with arrest and indictment by the D.A.'s office when he wouldn't change his story to accommodate Krasner's new story line that Pownall was a murderer. 

Jacobs is contending in his lawsuit that he was the victim of a constructive discharge by the Police Department, a matter handled by Wilson, because he spoke out about the corruption in the D.A.'s office on a podcast. 

On the podcast, the police department charged, Jacobs referred to the D.A.'s office as a "criminal enterprise" and that Assistant District Attorney Tracy Tripp constituted a "clear and present danger" to police. 

Jacobs says he was forced to resign because he learned that the department was drawing up charges to fire him for allegedly communicating with the media without authorization, and for allegedly not complying with the police commissioner's orders and/or directives. 

Meanwhile, Outlaw is continuing to cover up who really ordered the teargassing of the Vine Street protesters.

She's done it by repeatedly ignoring requests to be interviewed by the Police Department's Internal Affairs Unit regarding their investigation into the teargassing.

How can any cop have any loyalty to Outlaw after they've seen cops like Nicoletti and former Staff Inspector Joe Bologna fired for following her orders during the George Floyd riots.

And when the heat came down, instead of backing her officers who were following her orders, Outlaw played politics with her boss the mayor and stabbed cops like Nicoletti, Bologna and Wilson in the back.

For following her orders, which were also approved by the mayor.

To perpetuate a lie, Outlaw and Kenney have also been aided by their many collaborators in the media, led by the official Democratic party apologists at The Philadelphia Inquirer, who have displayed an amazing lack of curiosity about the two court cases where the cover up has unraveled.

What a town.

The mayor and the police commissioner are a couple of liars and cowardly backstabbers when it comes to defending the cops who were fired for carrying out their orders.

And when the testimony comes out in two court cases to prove that official treachery at the top, instead of exposing the police commissioner and the mayor, the local media is actively engaged in continuing a cover up by pretending it's not happening.


  1. So a Deputy throws himself under the bus.... and we still have a useless PC. Only in Phila.

    1. As long as Jim Kenney serves the rich, local, Trump alike developers, he's untouchable.
      Kenney fought to keep $12M condos under abatement.
      Kenney recently came out against changes to the zoning board to protect rich Trump alike tax avoiding developers.
      The Inquirer approves of Kenney's oligarchs.
      Kenney lies more than Trump.

    2. Trump has absolutely nothing to do with anything in this publication. You maybe should have your head examined.

    3. All politicians are liars.
      Trump and Kenney are politicians.
      Trump and Kenney are liars.
      Only difference is Kenney is not help accountable to any appreciable standard, while Trump is terrorized in a way we haven't seen since Germany in the 1930s.

    4. And I didn't say Trump. I said Trump-like..m

    5. No. Your light. I said Trump.

  2. And today Krasner proudly indicted a police officer for the he murder of a 12 year old boy who put a bullet hole through an unmarked police car. Nobody thought about indicting the boy's mother for giving him liberal privileges to roam the neighborhood with a stolen Glock

    1. The Kraz don't pay he taxes! just like Bezos, Trump, Musk, Netflix, Amazon, Bloomberg (3.4% effective rate!) Or don't pay they fair share.

  3. Thank God that Winton Singletary did the right thing morally and spoke the truth! It's a shame that Outlaw and Kenney do not have the same morals. Detective Jacob's railroaded by a DA's office with their own political agenda. Swat cop Nicoletti's name and reputation tarnished. Detective Jacobs name and reputation tarnished. The financial situation of not having a job for doing the "right thing" by Nicoletti and Jacob's because of a spineless P.C. Outlaw is a disgrace.

  4. Nothing to see here just move along. What a joke the journalist in this city are now. Thanks for always going after the truth Ralph. Hopefully, one day, those two spineless twits will have to answer for their actions that day (Not for nothing, it was the correct call).

  5. In the words of Janelle Monae's song " Turntables":
    I'm kicking out the (Kenney) regime
    Liberation, elevation, education
    (The Jim Kenney), you a lie
    But the whole world 'bout to testify
    I said, the whole world 'bout to testify
    And the tables 'bout to
    T-t-tables 'bout to

  6. And the corruption continues. Big shocker

    1. There are tapes and evidence from Kenney and Outlaw gassing peaceful protesters, but I suspect by now it has all been destroyed by a glitch or something, like the evidence on Jeff Epstein.

  7. Keep up the GREAT work. Outlaw is busy looking for a different shade of nail polish, instead of taking a ride to Internal Affairs to be interviewed. How can she NOT give an interview? Could a sworn officer do the same? Kenny (Baby Huey) is too busy looking to get his next glass of wine and stuffing his face than saying what really happened. Wonder if HE could get a subpoena? Oh, what a tangled web was woven.

    1. Speaking of the mayor, there's a rumor out there that he no longer lives in the city, in violation of the residency requirement. Look into this, Ralph.

  8. Ralph, Good piece. Only here can one read about this kind of thing.


    1. Thanks, Paul. Waiting for the rest of the media to pounce on this story.

  9. Until the misguided sheep of Philadelphia learn to think on their own and stop voting for the people that promise the world and give them nothing the city will remain corrupt. The three stooges, Kenny, Outlaw and the scumbag Krasner aren't worth the air that they breathe.

  10. Maybe CI McCarrick could push shopping carts at the next violent protestors what a joke no cops on the street and he has good officers finding shopping carts

  11. Ralph, if Krasner so hates the PPD. Why is he using PPD cops working in his office representing the DA Office at community events? Shouldn't he be using his own people? How can you represent the PPD and DA Office at the same time???

  12. During the first days of the riots/protest everyone knew, and was okay with SWAT using tear gas. Every time it was used it was announced over Police Radio… Even the Police Commisoner, if she didn’t hear the radio, seems like that’s a failure on her part!

  13. Hey Ralph, is there a reason why you didn't report on the blown prosecution of the FDR park murder of the police inspector's son? Looks like Krasner's Cracker Jack team lost another slam dunk case. I honestly don't know what more there is that you can do to get the people of the city to realize that their self serving leaders are doing nothing to help the citizens of this once great city.

    1. Rebstock tossed this. On purpose? Probably ordered to do so.

    2. Being a blogger is all about picking your spots. What I heard early about this case made me wonder whether a Krasner tank job had been ordered up. But even the cop's family wasn't pointing the finger at the DA's office; instead, they blamed the jury.

  14. Jacobs (OISI) does not “clear” police shootings. Merely a fact finding unit and pass along the folder. The shooting review board (SRB) clears Ppd shootings in-house. Ask yourself how the SRB has cleared every single other unarmed non-fatal shooting…but hammered the unfortunate fatales. Publicity and PR is all. It’s a disgrace.

  15. It took 2 years for Wilson to come clean. Pretty much solidifies that the internal affairs investigation done on Nicoletti and forwarded to the DA was completely BOGUS. Being that this is “New Evidence “ , the DAs office should withdraw charges. It’s impossible for them to win in court , they have an obligation as prosecutors, to not proceed with cases they know they aren’t going to win.

  16. The whole thing is par for the course, an incompetent Police Commisoner who is in over her head.. One racist Deputy Commisoner, One effective Deputy Commisoner, One corrupt Deputy Commisoner and One Deputy with eyes on retirement. It doesn’t get any better at the Chief Level, shit bags across the board! Don’t get me started on the ridiculous Captains.


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