By Mari A. Schaefer The Philadelphia Inquirer COLWYN, Pa. — The Delaware County district attorney brought charges Thursday against a Colwyn Borough police officer who allegedly Tasered a handcuffed 17-year-old while the teenager was shackled in a jail cell, and then made fun of the incident in a text message to another officer.
Cpl. Trevor Parham of Upper Darby was charged Thursday with simple assault and official oppression, both misdemeanors, the District Attorney's Office said. He was released on $25,000 unsecured bail.
"This is unfortunate, disappointing, and it is offensive," District Attorney Jack Whelan said. Whelan said his department was still trying to determine whether there was cause to arrest the juvenile, who had been charged with disorderly conduct. Whelan said sending text messages when someone is hit with a stun gun was "not funny."
"Let's not rush to judgment," said Thomas Fitzpatrick, Parham's attorney. "At the appropriate time all the facts will come out."
Fitzpatrick said his client was disheartened by the allegations.
Parham and another officer, Michael Drucktor, who purportedly witnessed the incident but failed to report it, are on leave from the department.
According to court documents, Mayor Daniel Rutland asked the District Attorney's Office to investigate the April 24 incident. In an interview with a county detective, Parham, 40, admitted he Tasered Da'Qwan Jackson, who was lying on the cell bench, his hands cuffed behind his back and his feet shackled. Parham then texted another unidentified officer.
Parham: "kid I locked up a few times before. smart ass"
Officer A: "O OK"
Parham: "got Tased in the cell lol"
Officer A: "Y"
Parham: "kept kicking the gate and calling me names"
The teenager, who was hit with 50,000 volts of electricity, did not require medical attention, Whelan said. According to court documents, he had two small bruises on his upper left arm.
Borough officials' actions are under review, Whelan said. He would not comment on the status of Deputy Police Chief Wendell Reed, who also was suspended after the Tasering.
Colwyn Solicitor Gregg L. Zeff said Reed had been reinstated.
Parham has been a police officer for about 10 years, according to Fitzpatrick. He has worked for other departments, including Cheyney University's.
Parham and his twin brother, Troy, a SEPTA police officer, cowrote a book, Mr. Malik: Will There Be Any Stars in My Crown, based on the life of their biological father. It was made into a movie, Millionaire.
The film is set in the 1970s and revolves around two men who rise to the top of Philadelphia’s underworld and are assassinated by the Black Mafia in Atlantic City, according to a promotional website.
The Taser incident has roiled the borough of 2,500 people in the southeastern part of the county. Rutland declared a state of emergency after the incident resulted in the suspension of three officers. The council later lifted the state of emergency. Rutland reinstated it Saturday, but it was lifted again Wednesday night.
Copyright 2012 Philadelphia Newspapers, LLC
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