Philadelphia cops brutalize fellow officer for getting stolen guns off street, lawsuit says
A Philadelphia police officer has accused fellow officers of brutality after he tried to turn in a friend’s guns “in a proactive attempt to stop violence.”
According to the Philadelphia Daily News, a lawsuit filed against the Philadelphia Police Department by Sgt. Brandon Ruff on Monday alleges that he suffered two sprained shoulders, and two sprained wrists at the hands of other officers.
The suit claims that that he volunteered to turn in stolen guns that a friend had purchased from teens “in a proactive attempt to stop violence.”
On August 3, Ruff told officers at the 35th District station that he was turning in the firearms under a “no-questions-asked” policy.
“I was working with this guy. He said he was interested in submitting firearms to me because he’d rather the kids have money to eat,” Ruff told WCAU.
Ruff asked to speak to a supervisor when officers demanded to see his ID, and to know who the owners of the guns were. But he only had his work ID with him at the time.
“I said ‘You don’t need my information.’ I asked for a supervisor. I was not acting as a police officer at the time,” he explained. “I’m just doing this anonymously in good faith.”
When a supervisor failed to appear, Ruff said that he left the station to get the information officers were asking for.
The suit states that someone shouted, “There he is,” and an officer restrained him by twisting his right hand behind his back. More than five more officers joined, and two of them threatened him by holding Tasers to his chest.
“One officer says ‘I’m f-ing tasing you.’ I said, ‘If you tase me, I’m going to sue you,” he recalled to WCAU.
Ruff verbally gave the officers a number which identified him as a police officer. He said that the officer restraining him would not let him reach for the police identification in his pocket.
After being detained for seven hours, detectives from Internal Affairs told him that he had been placed under investigation, and was assigned to desk duty. He was also relieved of his firearm, which is department policy.
Ruff explained that he had tried to turn in the guns anonymously because he did not want the teens who sold the guns to his friend to be “blacklisted” for life.
“I’m thinking, ‘He’s coming to me in confidence. Let’s get these guns off the streets,’” he said.
Philadelphia Police pointed out that buying stolen guns is illegal even if the intention was to turn them into police. But there is no official policy requiring a person turning over firearms to give their name, leaving it to the officer’s discretion, a police spokesperson to WCAU.
Ruff said that his precinct would have never handled the case that way.
“If an 80-year-old grandmother had come down to my district and tried to turn in a gun, I wouldn’t be hounding her,” he pointed out.
At this point, the 8-year veteran isn’t sure if he will ever be able to return to duty.
“I just want them to investigate it fairly,” he remarked. “Helping the community has been my passion since I’ve been on the job.”
[‘Guns and Ammunition’ (Shutterstock) ]