For the First Time in a Long Time, A Philly Officer is Convicted for Murdering a Black Man [Update]

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This undated photo provided by Philadelphia Police Department shows former Philadelphia police Officer Eric Ruch Jr., charged with first-degree murder, Oct. 9, 2020 in the 2017 shooting of a Black man after a high-speed car chase. Ruch Jr. became “distraught” when he learned that the Black motorist he fatally shot did not have a gun in his pocket, his lawyer said as the ex-officer’s third-degree murder trial began Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2022.
This undated photo provided by Philadelphia Police Department shows former Philadelphia police Officer Eric Ruch Jr., charged with first-degree murder, Oct. 9, 2020 in the 2017 shooting of a Black man after a high-speed car chase. Ruch Jr. became “distraught” when he learned that the Black motorist he fatally shot did not have a gun in his pocket, his lawyer said as the ex-officer’s third-degree murder trial began Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2022.

Updated as of 9/22/2022 at 3:35 p.m. ET

The news report says former officer Eric Ruch Jr. boo-hoo cried in the courtroom when the jury issued his guilty verdict. The former white Philly officer was convicted Wednesday of voluntary manslaughter in the shooting and killing a Black motorist in December 2017, per The Philadelphia Inquirer.

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He escaped the more serious third-degree murder charge he was previously facing, per The Associated Press. Prosecutors say the cop shot 25-year-old Dennis Plowden Jr. within seconds of reaching him while other officers chose to hold their fire.

Per AP News, Ruch noticed Plowden’s right hand was in his pocket and thought he was reaching for a gun. However, Ruch discovered that he was holding heroin and not a firearm. Turns out the police assumed Plowden’s car was a part of a homicide which they learned later was not. Ruch’s attorney David Mischak urged the jury to consider the two-minute chase prior to Plowden’s death (as if the chase was enough to justify killing him).

Ruch would have seen a third-degree murder conviction if the jury could conclude his actions were motivated by malice, per the Inquirer. Voluntary manslaughter can fall under negligence or accident, per Pennsylvania’s law. Ruch faces a max of 25 years in prison, however, advisory sentencing guidelines suggest five years.

However, this situation alone is only an addition to Ruch’s filthy record of complaints.

More about Ruch’s background from AP News:

Ruch is one of three city police officers facing murder charges filed by Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner over their on-duty actions. In his case, the jury will also weigh voluntary manslaughter and a weapons charge.

The bullet from Ruch’s gun went through Plowden’s raised left hand before hitting him in the head. He died at a hospital the following day, according to testimony from his widow, Tania Bond, who briefly took the stand. She won a $1.2 million wrongful death settlement from the city.

Ruch was fired about 10 months after the Plowden shooting.

In a key pretrial ruling, Philadelphia Common Pleas Judge Barbara McDermott barred prosecutors from telling jurors about a series of complaints filed against him during his 10-year police career because he was mostly cleared of wrongdoing by internal affairs, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Mischack insisted he was “distraught” after learning he killed Plowden. “As soon as my client discovered it was heroin and not a gun, he was upset. He was distraught,” Mischak said via AP News.

So he’s supposed to get a pass because he felt bad? Kim Potter had a red-faced meltdown on the stand and even though her sentence was a slap on the wrist, she still got served a conviction for killing Daunte Wright.