A Philadelphia police officer is facing three misdemeanor charges after allegedly threatening a black man and hurling racial slurs at him.
The confrontation occurred at 2:45 a.m. on Oct. 20, 2013 in South Philadelphia where people hang out near Geno’s or Pat’s, Philly.com reports.
Daniel Iannuzzi, who worked at Pat’s at the time of the confrontation, says gatherings at that location were not uncommon.
On the night in question, however, two men–one white and one black–began yelling at each other, Iannuzzi recalls.
The white man, identified as off duty police officer Edward Sawicki III, 36, was allegedly yelling racial slurs at 39-year-old Lamar Fouse.
At one point, Sawicki also reportedly yelled, “I’ll smoke you!” and pulled up his shirt to reveal a gun.
Sawicki’s on trial facing charges of making terroristic threats, simple assault, and possession of an instrument of crime.
Defense attorney William J. Brennan claims Fouse was the aggressor in the altercation.
Racism within America’s police departments is beginning to reach alarming numbers. It was widely reported in 2015 that white supremacist groups had infiltrated America’s police departments.
Only last week it was revealed that even more San Francisco police officers were implicated in a racist and homophobic texting scandal.
Young black men between the ages of 15 to 34 were nine times more likely to be killed by police than other Americans in 2015.