NBC10.com - Katy Zachry
A former Philadelphia Police Officer once hailed a hero is now in jail on $60 million bail after he allegedly raped two women at gunpoint. NBC10's Katy Zachry has the latest details.
A former Philadelphia police officer, once hailed as a hero and given a seat next to the First Lady at a speech by President Barack Obama, is scheduled for another court appearance in June.
Richard DeCoatsworth, 27, is being held on $60 million bail after he allegedly raped two women and assaulted another.
DeCoatsworth allegedly met one of the women at a bar on North Front Street two weeks ago, then forced her into prostitution at a Days Inn hotel along Roosevelt Boulevard.
Between 2 a.m. Thursday and Friday evening, DeCoatsworth went to the woman’s home along North Howard Street in the Fishtown-Kensington area, according to a law enforcement source close to the investigation.
Once he arrived, DeCoatsworth allegedly forced that woman and a second woman, both in their 20s, to use drugs and perform oral sex on him at gunpoint. The alleged victims reported the assault Friday only after DeCoatsworth went home, according to police.
Police raided DeCoatsworth’s house on the 2700 block of Salmon Street in the Port Richmond section of Philadelphia around 6:30 a.m. on Saturday. He was arraigned and charged with rape, sexual assault, terroristic threats and other related offenses. Police also confiscated drugs and guns from the home, according to a source. No word yet on what kind of drugs were removed from the home.
According to court documents, bail was set at $25 million for each of the alleged victims. Another $10 million bail was set in a separate domestic violence case DeCoatsworth is now being charged with, according to investigators. Police say he assaulted his live-in girlfriend on May 9. The $60 million bail is reportedly one of the highest set in Philadelphia history. DeCoatsworth faces more than 32 crimes in all three cases. He is scheduled for another court appearance on June 17.
One of DeCoatsworth’s neighbors said she was relieved to hear about his arrest.
“I am scared to be saying this now but I hope he stays where he is at, he has been a thorn in the side of this neighborhood for so long,” said the woman who did not want to be identified.
In 2005, while a police recruit, DeCoatsworth allegedly injured a Girard Avenue business owner during a fight. He was allowed to remain a recruit in spite of the allegations however.
DeCoatsworth was shot in the face back in 2007 when he was a rookie officer. After being shot, he managed to chase down the suspect for several blocks before collapsing. He called in enough information by radio that police were able to track down and arrest the suspect later the same day.
His heroism earned him an invitation from Vice President Joe Biden to attend President Obama’s first congressional address at the U.S. Capital in February of 2009. The officer sat with First Lady Michelle Obama during the address. He was also honored by his peers as a 2008 Top Cop. He was involved in two more dramatic incidents soon after.
In April of 2009, police say DeCoatsworth was jumped and attacked by a man when he tried to disperse a crowd at the Logan section of the city. During the struggle, sources say DeCoatsworth’s gun went off and hit the suspect who took off running. Another officer responding to the scene shot the suspect dead, according to sources.
In September of 2009, police said DeCoatsworth and another officer stopped a man on a motorcycle in the Kensington section of the city. While they were questioning him, a second man allegedly jumped on the motorcycle and drove at the officers. Police say DeCoatsworth shot at the suspect, who sped off. The suspect was found later at the hospital where his mother had taken him to be treated for a shotgun wound.
During the incident, local witnesses claimed the two suspects did nothing wrong and that DeCoatsworth and the other officer acted recklessly, shooting while children were nearby.
In November of 2011, Internal Affairs investigated an alleged scuffle between DeCoatsworth and another officer, according to Philly.com. The Daily News also reports he amassed nine citizen complaints, accusing him of assault, abuse and misconduct.
DeCoatsworth retired from the police force on disability back in December, 2011.
In February of 2012, an arrest warrant was issued for DeCoatsworth after he allegedly threatened a woman in Port Richmond.
The Mayor's Office confirms the city has paid more than $1.5 million to settle lawsuits alleging aggressive behavior by DeCoatsworth when he was a member of the force.
Last year, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey told police he believed he failed DeCoatsworth by letting him go back to work with a stressful unit too soon after he was shot in the face.
"I think I screwed up on that," Ramsey told the Daily News. "I think I should have given him more time. He didn't want more time but I should have done that."
In light of his most recent arrest however, Ramsey had much harsher words for DeCoatsworth on Monday.
"He has to be held accountable," Ramsey said. "Just like anybody else. There should be no special consideration given simply because he once served as a police officer."
While DeCoatsworth is listed as being represented by a public defender, family members are currently helping him acquire an attorney.