Cop, 35, charged after shocking footage shows him pepper spraying kneeling BLM protesters – The Sun

A PHILLY cop was charged after assaulting three Black Lives Matter protesters with pepper spray, lawyers say.

Footage appeared to show an officer, later identified as Richard Paul Nicoletti, 35, spraying demonstrators in the face during a BLM rally off Interstate 676 on June 1.

Nicoletti turned himself in and was suspended for 30 days on June 26.

He was charged with one count of possession of an instrument of crime and three counts each of simple assault, recklessly endangering another person and official oppression, according to ABC 6.

The charges stem from a video of the incident, in which Nicoletti can be seen approaching four kneeling protesters and spraying three of them.

State and local authorities responded to the huge BLM group, who had walked onto the Philadelphia highway and were obstructing traffic that day.

At 5pm, Nicoletti's SWAT unit arrived in the westbound lanes in uniform and wearing gas masks, per investigators.

He then supposedly sprayed one of them in the face and was seen apparently pulling down one of the demonstrator's goggles before spraying her again in the video.

Nicoletti then allegedly went over to a hunched third protester trying to protect his face with his crossed legs.

He threw the man onto his back and proceeded to spray him as he lay on the ground – five days after George Floyd's police custody death, ABC reported.

The protester tried to swing at Nicoletti but he missed, while a fourth protester nearby wasn't sprayed during the Pennsylvania protest.

The President of Philadelphia's police union FOP John McNesby said they "will provide an appropriate defense for officer Nicoletti as this process moves forward."

"It seems like everybody else, the protesters, are free to do whatever they want," McNesby told the station.

More than 90 protesters are suing the City, including Katherine Miller, one of the people Nicoletti allegedly sprayed.

The cop's defense lawyer Fortunato Perri Jr described Nicoletti as a "veteran army ranger" who was simply following orders during the June 1 protest, citing the approved use of tear gas and pepper spray.

On Wednesday, DA Larry Krasner condemned the behavior of Nicoletti on June 1, describing claims he was following orders as a "Nuremberg defense."

"I was following orders is not a defense to committing crimes," Krasner told reporters during a July 22 press conference. "That doesn't work."

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