(Philadelphia, January 6, 2017) – The City of Philadelphia has reached a $4.4 million settlement to resolve lawsuits brought by Philippe Holland against the City of Philadelphia and two Philadelphia police officers.
On April 22, 2014, two on-duty plainclothes officers, Mitchell Farrell and Kevin Hanvey, responded to a radio call for shots fired in the vicinity of 51st and Willows Avenue in West Philadelphia. An unfortunate, regrettable series of events ended with Mr. Holland, who had been working lawfully in the area as a food delivery driver, being shot three times by the officers. The City of Philadelphia has agreed to resolve Mr. Holland’s lawsuits through a just and fair settlement.
“We will strive to ensure that tragedies such as this do not happen again in our City. The Philadelphia Police Department has agreed under the settlement to implement a new training protocol for all current and new plainclothes police officers,” said City Solicitor Sozi Pedro Tulante.
“Our Police Department exists to protect and serve all people who live, work in, or visit Philadelphia and greatly values your trust,” said Commissioner Richard Ross. “The City of Philadelphia strives to earn, maintain, and build that trust by ensuring that police act within the scope of their lawful authority and hold paramount the civil rights of those they serve.”
The new training protocol for plainclothes officers is in addition to many of the efforts already undertaken by the Police Department, particularly over the past year, to improve policing practices and prevent civil rights violations. For example, the Police Department has implemented a series of measures and controls to address issues surrounding pedestrian stops and investigations, which have resulted in a significant decrease in the total number of pedestrian stops for the first three quarters of 2016 compared to the first three quarters of 2015. Additionally, over the same period, the percentage of pedestrian stops and investigations lacking reasonable suspicion has decreased dramatically.
The Police Department has also worked vigorously to implement comprehensive use-of-force policy reforms recommended by the United States Department of Justice in March 2015. Of the DOJ’s 91 recommendations, the City has completed 61 as of December 31, 2016, including, among others, instituting training in unconscious bias; establishment of a single investigative unit devoted to criminal investigations of all deadly force incidents; and ensuring that all officers who discharge their firearms will be interviewed within 72 hours of the incident. Another 25 of the recommendations are either partially completed or in progress of implementation.