Former "Hero" Cop Accused of Raping Women at Gun Point
May 20, 2013
A former Philadelphia police officer honored by the White House in 2009 faces charges of rape and other crimes, after allegedly forcing women to perform sexual acts at gunpoint.
In 2009, Richard DeCoatsworth was chosen by Vice President Joe Biden to sit next to first lady Michelle Obama during a Presidential address. The officer was praised for his valor. He was shot in the face during a routine traffic stop, but chased down his assailent despite his heavy injury. He retired on disability in 2011, reports WCAU-TV.
DeCoatsworth appears to be charged in two seperate incidents. According to the Daily Mail:
In one case, DeCoatsworth, 27, is accused of holding two women hostage and forcing them to take drugs and engage in sexual acts at gunpoint. In the other case, he’s accused of abusing his girlfriend, police said.
Local Philadelphia news outlets report that DeCoatsworth has been in trouble before. The Philly Post points out that in 2010 University professor Marc Lamont Hill accused DeCoatsworth of violating his civil rights during a traffic stop. Describing his experience, Lamont Hill movingly wrote about the larger significance of his encounter with the former "hero" cop:
Since the incident, I’ve thought about DeCoatsworth. I’ve wondered if he regretted that night, wishing he could take back his actions now that he has been afforded the luxury of time and reflection. I’ve wondered whether his tragic shooting has put him in a permanent state of trauma, causing him to find danger where there is none. I’ve wondered if he was a good cop at heart, who became cynical and overly aggressive after spending a few short years trying to navigate a broken system.
DeCoatsworth also faced charges of witness intimidation, following allegations that he had, "kidnapped, assaulted, and robbed a Port Richmond man who lived two blocks from him over an unpaid debt," according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.