Michael Clayton shared this post via CopBlock.org’s submit page.
On January 12th, 2014, Officer Joseph Deprenza of the Williamsport Police Department was responding to a fellow officer’s call of “suspect at gunpoint” when he struck a civilian vehicle. Officer Deprenza was traveling “88 to 101 miles per hour seconds before impact” in a 35 mile per hour zone according to a Pennsylvania State Police report released earlier this week.
The civilian, James David Robinson, 42 was turning left at a stop light when Officer Deprenza’s cruiser passed two other cars on the left before he struck the rear of Robinsons car at 88 mph. The impact pushed the victims car through a utility pole snapping it in half and severing the wires, causing the transformer to explode before the momentum forced the vehicle into the wall of a nearby building knocking out power to half the city. Inevitably the vehicle caught fire and engulfed in flames before emergency services could arrive. Sadly Mr. Robinson was lost in the tragedy.
Lycoming County District Attorney Eric Linhart has filed charges of Homicide by motor vehicle, as well as Involuntary Manslaughter. Pressure from the community as well as a compelling report from the PSP Accident Reconstruction Department has really left them no choice.
When asked about the Incident City Mayor Gabriel Campana said he was “saddened” by the tragedy. Campana spoke at a press conference standing behind the charges saying “No one is above the law”.
Cheif Foresman of the City Police Department responded by saying he was “disappointed that one of his officers was responsible” and that Officer Deprenza’s actions were “unacceptable”.
Officer Deprenza has been arraigned and is out on bail, his next court appearance is February 7th.
Robinson’s friends and family is without a son, brother, and friend because of Officer Deprenza and his itchy trigger finger. He was in such a hurry to get to the scene for a little gun play that an innocent civilian had to lose his life. The crime that started this train wreck into motion, wait for it, a suspect unrelated to Robinson ran a stop sign, leading to a pursuit by a rookie Officer that ended with guns drawn. After the pursuit a subsequent search of the suspects car turned up an undisclosed amount of narcotics.
This raises a very important question. At what point do you draw the line? When does the ends NOT justify the means? Is this Officer going to truly be held accountable, or will this be a dog and pony act for the community and a slap on the wrist?
Even if Officer Deprenza does go to prison, will he be treated as an equal, just the same as every other prisoner in the yard? I have my doubts! Will he eat his lunch in general population, will he be placed in a cushy halfway house , or will they even simply put him on house arrest?
I have seen many cops charged in my day, but not many of them are punished. It’s a tongue in cheek part of American “Justice,” you can’t bite the hand that feeds you, and let’s be honest, they are fed very, very well.
Williamsport Bureau of Police
245 West Fourth Street Williamsport, PA 17701