Hit & Run

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

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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.