A former white Philadelphia police officer was charged Friday with first-degree murder in the fatal shooting of a black man after chasing a speeding car nearly three years ago.

Former officer Eric Ruch Jr. shot and killed Dennis Plowden Jr, 25, after Plowden’s car crashed, and he stumbled and fell to the ground, authorities said.

Prosecutors said the stunned, unarmed Plowden was holding his empty left hand in front of his face when Ruch fired the fatal shot. The other four officers who were at the scene did not fire their guns, according to a jury presentation.

Police at the scene of the shooting

After an internal investigation into the shooting, Ruch, who had been a police officer e for 10 years, was laid off by the police in October 2018. The criminal investigation continued for another two years, partly due to delays caused by the Coronavirus pandemic.

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On Friday, Ruch was charged with first degree murder, third degree murder, voluntary manslaughter and possession of a criminal instrument. Prosecutors expect him to be detained without bail.

Protestors in protest against police killings in Philadelphia

According to Philadelphia Investigators, Ruch is the second former police officer to be indicted by District Attorney Larry Krasner. Shortly after he was sworn in in 2018, he said his predecessors were biased in prosecuting law enforcement for fatal killings of civilians.

The police union said their lawyers would defend former officer Ruch.


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