Philadelphia Pays Out Largest Settlement to Black Man Mistakenly Shot by Plainclothes Officers

A 20-year-old pizza delivery man shot numerous times by police in 2014 in a case of mistaken identity received $4.4 million from Philadelphia Friday, Jan. 6, the city’s largest settlement to date.

The settlement closes two lawsuits filed by the victim, one for claims of assault and battery against the police officers in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court and a federal civil-rights action.

Police reports from the incident state that Philippe Holland was delivering his last order when two plain-clothes officers opened fired on his sedan.

“They’re surveying the area and they see this male walking with a hoodie,” Police Commissioner Richard Ross said at the time. “He’s got his hands in his pocket and at that time, they order him to stop and identify themselves.”

Holland did not hear the officers’ commands as they approached and as he entered his car and started to drive off, they both opened fire. Several bullets hit Holland in the head and body, causing major brain injuries, according to NBC News Philadelphia. There still are bullet fragments lodged in Holland’s brain.

Despite undergoing extensive surgeries, the victim suffers from a permanent seizure disorder and other injuries, according to a press release from Friday, Jan. 6.

“This settlement will not only compensate an innocent citizen who suffered devastating injuries but also serve as a catalyst for significant reforms in the way our communities are policed by plain-clothes officers,” Holland’s attorney Tom Kline said.

The Philadelphia Police Department stated that the incident was the impetus for implementing sweeping changes and enhancements to better engage with the public.

“[The department] has agreed under the settlement to implement a new training protocol for all current and new plain-clothes police officers,” City Solicitor Sozi Pedro Tulante said in the statement from last week.

One of the changes instituted is interviews with police officers within 72 hours of them discharging their weapons. Officers also will undergo “unconscious bias” training, and the department will institute an investigative unit devoted to criminal investigations for all deadly force incidents.

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