Police Abuse

Alleged Sex Predator Cop to Hit the Streets of Philly Again: "I'm stuck with a guy who shouldn't be a cop" Says Police Commissioner


Thomas Tolstoy in surveillance video
surveillance video via the Inquirer

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports on Officer Thomas Tolstoy, who was accused by three women of sexually assaulting them in similar but separate incidents, while acting as a police officer, and how he may be close to returning to patrol the streets of Philaldephia. Tolstoy was pulled from duty, with pay, after a woman who landed in a hospital after her encounter with Tolstoy in October 2008. She only knew his first name, Tom, but he had given her his phone number as well.  

Six years later, there has been no prosecution of Tolstoy. The Inquirer explains the details, including accusations that media reporting tainted the case and what made the woman accusing Tolstoy an unreliable witness in the eyes of prosecutors. The article is titled "Why an accused Phila. officer is still on the force" but actually only provides an explanation of why he may not have been prosecuted despite being investigated by local and federal authorities.

Why his return to the force was guaranteed when the statute of limitations on the alleged crimes ran out wasn't explained. Via the Inquirer:

Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey said he believed that—lack of prosecution notwithstanding—there might be truth to the accusations against Tolstoy. But the absence of corroborating evidence and the role allegedly played by the reporters meant that "the likelihood of being able to do anything with the case is very, very remote."

If the allegations against Tolstoy are true but the investigation itself became compromised, Ramsey said, an officer who should have been removed from the force will still patrol the streets.

"The odds are, I'm stuck with a guy who shouldn't be a cop," Ramsey said.

Ramsey is stuck with an alleged sex predator who could've easily been expelled had the same accusations been made against him as an undergraduate at an American college because Ramsey does not have the power to fire Tolstoy. The police commissioner of the Philadelphia Police Department can not summarily dismiss someone accused of multiple sexual assaults who is permitted by law to use violence to gain compliance from the residents of Philadelphia. Even when Ramsey tries to fire problem cops, he usually fails. A cop caught on camera hitting a woman for no reason got his job back after an arbitration hearing last year. Union protections prevent Ramsey and police chiefs and city leaders around the country from being able to effectively discipline and terminate problem cops.

With no guarantee the cop you encounter on the street isn't like this one, how can you be asked to blindly comply? People who encounter cops deserve to get home safe at night too.

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  1. All good cops are the same; each bad cop is a piece of shit in their own way.

    1. All good cops

      Both of them?

      1. They are twins.

    2. What you did there…I see it.

    3. Every police department thinks of policing the world, but no police department thinks of policing itself.

      1. This isn’t true. I can’t speak for the sncerity of the Police Commisioner in this case, but Imwas resident in a town that had a fairly good police force … With one exception. And they loathed him, but the Union rules meant that getting rid of the snofabitch was harder tyan getting a Liberal to admit that Castro is a murderous scumbag.

        They would have LOVED to police themselves. With the one exception (who apparently thought he was George Patton) they were polite, intellgent, got on with the minority population (mostly Hispanic, but some others), and in general gave better service than the local town council deserveed (but that’s another story).

        There are far too many police departments that are entirely out of civillian control, and there’s no excuse for that. But there ARE still good ones, and generalizations don’t help.

        1. If they wanted to police themselves, that cop would a)not have been let out of the station house (Farva!) or b) if union rules required letting him out on patrol then a minder or two with him as junior partner when he was out in public – with instructions to keep his mouth shut and do what his partner says.

          1. I agree with C.S.P. When I was working in Afghanistan, I became friends with a retired police detective lieutenant working there who after his retirement became a consultant helping to bust up police unions. He was a good guy and a good cop, who absolutely despised union leadership and how they kept bad cops from being held accountable. Had some really interesting stories about the unions and how he was able to undercut them and force them out…especially the ones run by the Teamsters (who he says have been gradually expanding their influence in police forces).

            It’s not all cops who are the problem…it’s the unions. Same as with teachers. It’s too difficult for departments to fire bad officers, which makes all officers look worse by association.

      2. If cops needed to police themselves, the first step would be to ensure that which polices them is not themselves.

  2. Guys like this should be the only ones allowed to have guns, right Tony?

  3. Public service unions should be banned.

    1. ^THIS

      1. Agreed. They’re dying out everywhere except the public sector…only because that’s where the politicians who love them operate.

    2. Pubsec unions are the only things keeping civil society together. Sometimes assholes abuse the system but without the unions these brave civil servants would be treated as bad as every other employee that works for a giant soul sucking corporation.


      1. They do work for the biggest, least accountable, soul-suckingest corporation of all.

    3. Zombie George Meany concurs.

  4. “Six years later, there has been no prosecution of Tolstoy. The Inquirer explains the details, including accusations that media reporting tainted the case and what made the woman accusing Tolstoy an unreliable witness in the eyes of prosecutors.”

    You can try people in another area. You don’t have to draw a jury from Philadelphia.

    My guess would be that the prosecutors found out that the officer belongs to a union, and the union has powerful allies and their ire might somehow impact a prosecutor’s future job prospects.

    I don’t know whether popularly elected district attorneys are better or worse for this kind of thing. I guess the best thing about democracy is that you get to throw the bums out periodically, but maybe these prosecutors are worried about the police union opposing them in an election.

    1. I think the big problem is that the political units are too large to be responsive.

      1. Yeah, there’s that.

        And there’s something wrong with a society where people carefully consider what the police and teachers’ unions say before they decide on who to vote for–for district attorney or school board, for instance.

        In a perfect world, the police and teachers’ unions would refuse to publicize who they’re supporting for these offices–because every time they did, everybody would vote for all the other candidates.

        Yeah, they say there are too many people for direct democracy–so we have to use representatives. But there are too many people in some of these jurisdictions for representative democracy, too.

        There’s too many of ’em, and they got their heads screwed on backwards.

        1. In a perfect world there’d be no such thing as a public sector union.

          1. Yeah, I kinda struggle with freedom of association in that regard myself.

            I guess the problem is that the government is in cahoots with the unions.

            One of the reasons local cities will let us, sometimes, get away with making improvements in lieu of fees is because it costs them so much more money to fix streets and drains themselves–because they have to use union everything for the work. They actually save more money by having us do the work for them than they would get in fees.

            Is it even possible to be a non-union policeman?

            Is it possible to teach in a public school without joining the union?

            If so, and we just got rid of those requirements, we’d be in a much better place.

            1. Is it possible to teach in a public school without joining the union?

              in Wisconsin, it is and when the requirement went away, a good number of teachers quit the union.

              As an aside, freedom of association has nothing to do with public sector unions. And most unions in general.

              1. Well, I’m not sure I’d support a law that says you can’t join a union either.

                That’s like going from a government under the Muslim Brotherhood, where you had to live like a member of the Brotherhood whether you liked it or not, and then when they were deposed, suddenly, being a member of the Brotherhood was more or less against the law.

                So, what you’re telling me is that Wisconsin is a better place now that the teachers aren’t forced to be in the union. We need to get to where they are before we worry about banning public unions entirely anyway, so let’s just push the choice angle for now. If you want to take their choice away from them later, then I guess we’ll arm wrestle for it.

                1. Well, I’m not sure I’d support a law that says you can’t join a union either.

                  I have little problem with imposing laws on pubsec employees that restrict their rights.

                  No campaign work on company time.

                  No campaign work off company time.

                  No donations to political parties.

                  No pubsec unions.

                  I am willing to let them vote.

                  You want to work for the government? Great! To avoid any kind of conflict of interest in your public sector work, you are not allowed to get involved in politics or join a union which, after all, exists for the purpose of creating conflicts of interest with the government that employs you.

                  1. I am willing to let them vote.

                    I could be convinced otherwise.

                  2. Get this passed and watch a whole lot of activist orgs implode.

                    Pipe dreams…..

            2. The idea that anyone has the right to collective bargaining with the very people they elect is asinine.

              Government’s not treating you and your fellow employees fairly? Quit and get a job that doesn’t pay you from the publics coffers.

    2. And yet the cops always release the names of the booked non-cops, damn whether or not the media coverage will affect the case.

  5. Once again, this is the exact reason why you should avoid any contact with the police whatsoever. You literally do not know if you are going to get an un-fireable criminal.

  6. OT:

    I don’t know if I’m the only one, but I keep having this problem with H&R and it seems to be getting worse. When I click my bookmark for H&R it comes up with older posts. It seems to get stuck on one post and stays there all day. Actually, today the post up is from two days ago, the one about NYC Cops don’t care about the law wrt cameras. I have to click on the RSS feed to see new posts. I can clear my cookies and everything, but it doesn’t change. What’s going on here?

    1. Demons.

    2. What browser? Have you tried other browsers? When you say you clear your cookies and everything, I assume you clear your cache/temporary internet files/whatever as well, right? Is your bookmark URL “https://reason.com/blog”?

    3. It’s a religious thing.

      Either the devil doesn’t want you to see what H&R is up to today, or God wants you to read that post over and over again.

      Send $34.95 to the Church of the SubGenius, and I bet it all goes away.

      P.S. Either that or try Adblock Plus for free. That fixed the problem for me.

      1. Church of the SubGenius

        Wow! I haven’t thought about those guys for 15 years. Thanks for the trip!

        1. Hey, now. Cut H&R some Slack.

          1. Very well. Eternal salvation or double your money back!

      2. Yeah, Adblock Plus and Ghostery are mandatory.

      3. And triple your money back if it doesn’t work.

    4. I don’t have that problem. My problem is that if I don’t stop the main page’s loading after it displays all the text, H&R will take up an inordinate amount of memory thanks to all that antisocial networking shit.

  7. Imagine the irony when and if this asshole arrests someone for assault or rape.

  8. I’m sure the cop is a douche, but the DNA didn’t match him*. I hate cops as much as the next guy, but I’m not a fan of false criminal allegations against anybody – even pigs. I think she’s just a lying whore, ala Tawanna Brawley.

    Also, it looks like there were three other serious sexual assault allegations that should have been more than enough to fire this jackass.

    1. That’s because the rape kit turned up human DNA.

      1. Lol, fair point.

        1. And in fairness, I have no idea if the DNA evidence was falsified. That is entirely possible as well.

  9. A Philadelphia cop who was fired after a video of him punching a woman went viral is getting his job back.

    Josey testified that Aida Guzman refused to drop a bottle of beer she had been holding. He said that he went to knock the bottle from her hand and was “shocked” to see her go down when his hand hit her face.

    And, it turns out, nothing else happened.


    ^shocked face

  10. “The police commissioner of the Philadelphia Police Department can not summarily dismiss someone accused of multiple sexual assaults who is permitted by law to use violence to gain compliance from the residents of Philadelphia.”

    Situations this stupid require the full-on Samson-at-the-pillars approach. Ramsey should argue that that authority to fire officers is inherent in the job, and that any contracts which presume to limit that authority are void and quite likely unlawful. Then exercise that authority accordingly. Go on TV and announce that Officer Thomas Tolstoy is no longer a police officer and has no authority to act as a police officer. It’ll be fun.

    1. I could see him doing that the day after he is diagnosed with terminal cancer.

  11. Any chance his brothers in blue shun him?

    1. Thanks, Rufus, I needed a belly laugh.

  12. Is this a union scum thread? Good.

    The Teamsters picketers were already mad. By the time Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi’s car pulled up to the Steel & Rye restaurant in the picturesque New England town of Milton just outside Boston, one of them ran up to her car and screamed, “We’re gonna bash that pretty face in, you fucking whore!”

    With comments!

    Crazy 8 ? on Aug 20, 2014 12:33 pm
    Wow. Not buying it. First of all, don’t go scab your hack show back East. Bad idea. And then don’t exacerbate the situation by refusing to address it and leaving your people out there. Finally, pretty low rent to try and create a climate where you’re accusing the Teamsters of some serious charges of racism and intimidation when you instigated the whole mess and now need to find a way to back out.

    Take your reality show, with the low pay and bad work environment back to California where you can find the interns for it and they’ll even give you incentives.


    1. Remember, unions were formed so that the workers could treat management like sub-humans.

      1. Without humans, there would be no healthy working conditions. They’re needed and so…

        1. Without unions I meant.


        2. It is my fondest hope that the founding members of UMWA and ILU are waiting at the gates of Hell to show these guys what real oppression feels like. Teamsters — I’ve never been quite sure they were in the same league.

        3. It is time for Robocop.

          The remake should have been about building a Utopia.

        4. That’s a John-level error.

      2. Remember, unions were formed so that the workers members could treat management other workers like sub-humans.

        Union violence not directed at company property is mostly directed at non-union workers.

        1. They are the very heart of French Revolution Fraternite. If you do not wish to be liberated from your bourgeois ideas, they will do so with fist and boot.

    2. If someone threatened to bash my face in I’m pretty sure I would shoot them dead.

      Also, hey, there’s some progress – the Teamsters don’t seem as racist, huh? They called her pretty!

      1. What a shame that the security for the show didn’t hose them down with pepper spray.

        If I was the producer, I think I’d hire a new security company. The stars of my show get this kind of treatment, and the people I am paying to prevent exactly this just stand around?

        1. I wonder if you could convince the security firm to re-incorporate as Pinkertons, Inc.

          1. The Pinkertons are still in business.

            1. That’s who I’d hire.

  13. Whoa, whoa, let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. We need to see ALL the evidence, and then come to a reasoned conclusion based on all the facts. And if those facts, don’t add up – well, he must be non guilty, right?

    HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Public “servants” Union for the win, suckers! See ya on the streets, bitches!

  14. If I was the third Koch brother, I’d buy a billboard, as close as possible to this guy’s precinct house, put his picture up on it, with a warning:

    This police officer has been accused of sexual assault multiple times. The Philadelphia Police Department has put him back on patrol. USE EXTREME CAUTION IN ALL ENCOUNTERS! WOMEN SHOULD NOT ALLOW HIM TO GET THEM ALONE UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES!

    This is a public service announcement brought to you by KYTW*, Inc.

    *Koch You, That’s Why

    1. You know what, you just may be on to something there.

      It’s outrageous a body said to ‘protect and serve’ has a criminal in its ranks. Just fucking sickening.

      1. It’s our fault for assuming they meant the citizens when they whipped that slogan up.

    2. We should crowdfund that shit. I’ll throw in for it. Just need to figure out a way to word it that doesn’t get us sued for libel.

      1. RC Dean/MM’s wording reads as though it shouldn’t fall afoul of libel laws.

        Of course, I am not a lawyer, so my common-sense views may not have any bearing on what the law really is.

        1. Yeah, I realized I didn’t read it right the first time. It looks good to me. I say go for it. Someone start the Kickstarter.

      2. A potential libel lawsuit would be just fine with me. Let’s go to court, get some discovery, put everybody under oath, and just publicize the shit out of this.

        1. Indeed, truth is an absolute defense to defamation.

      3. Same here.

  15. So the PD is going on strike until this guy is removed from the force and prosecuted, right?

    So the police commissioner is going to quit and use the attendant media attention to this issue and put the union in the position defending a sex offender, right?

    1. Right.

    2. Hey, you can’t smoke that shit unless you brought enough to share.

  16. The Officer, he is free to Gambol?

  17. Who comes up with all that


  18. According to TV police dramas, the police will watch him and if gets out of line will arrange an accident. Oh, wait, that’s what the mafia would do if he was working for the mafia. Never mind.

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