After multiple allegations of abuse and misconduct and several out-of-court settlements on other cases, a trial date of Aug. 8th has been set for Chester police officer Joshua Dewees in federal court in Philadelphia.
The lawsuit against Dewees, alleging assault and battery, intent to inflict emotional distress and violation of civil rights, was filed by local attorney Joseph Oxman following an incident in January 2009 when Dewees allegedly ordered Julia Quagliarello, of Ridley Park, from her vehicle at gunpoint and assaulted her.
In October 2009, the Chester NAACP called for Dewees’ suspension pending the outcome of the lawsuits; a request that was deemed premature by Fraternal Order of Police President Todd Nuttal.
“After settling two cases out-of-court for five figures you would think the department would be fed up with this guy,” said Oxman, who also questioned the Chester police’s procedures for evaluating officers.
“They don’t take into account previous complaints filed against officers when evaluating current allegations,” Oxman said of the practice that Chester Police Chief Darren Alston testified to during a deposition.
Alston on Monday told the Spirit that, “Allegations are investigated solely on the basis of the evidence of that incident. If a past accusation was unfounded, why should that be used (against a person) in the current case?”
The chief stressed that everybody deserves a fair chance in court and that people are always presumed innocent although, in his experience, he’s seen instances where people make allegations against police officers who they know others have filed lawsuits against to improve their chances in court.
The trial will be held in the courtroom of federal Judge Michael Baylson at 601 Market St., in Philadelphia.