Prosecutors refile charges against officer in summer protest

PHILADELPHIA — The Philadelphia prosecutor’s office has refiled charges against a city police officer who was accused of striking a protester in the head with a metal baton during a racial injustice demonstration.

The filing Thursday came about a month after a judge dismissed the charges against Police Inspector Joseph Bologna, finding that prosecutors had not presented enough evidence to establish that Bologna’s use of his baton amounted to a crime.

Bologna, 54, was suspended after a video showed him hitting the protester in June. Bologna is charged with aggravated assault, reckless endangerment, and possession of an instrument of crime.

“Philadelphians demand evenhanded justice and we are trying our very best to give them exactly that,” District Attorney Larry Krasner said in a statement issued Thursday.

Bologna’s lawyers declined to comment. John McNesby, president of the police union, said the decision was “not based on facts or evidence,” but was a political decision by Krasner, who is in the midst of a reelection campaign.”

Bologna, a 31-year member of the force, had been suspended with intent to dismiss, but when the charges were dismissed Jan. 15, his attorneys said he had the option to seek full reinstatement. It wasn’t clear Friday if he has made a decision.

Bologna’s attorney have said his actions were justified because the protests over the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis had turned violent.

Video that circulated widely on social media showed Bologna hitting a 21-year-old Temple University student in the head and neck area with a baton during a June protest. The student was knocked to the ground, and another officer put a knee on him to keep him down.

Authorities have said the protester’s injuries required staples and stitches. He was initially arrested but was later released, and charges against him were dropped.