Officials Fire PATCO Officer After He Pepper-Sprays Passenger

A PATCO Transit officer suspended after he pepper-sprayed and used his baton to hit a train passenger earlier this year has been fired.

The Philadelphia Inquirer says the Delaware River Port Authority announced its decision Friday. That came after the Camden County Prosecutor's Office declined to file charges against Michael Fiocca.

Fiocca said in his report that he believed 48-year-old Ryan Patterson was trying to stay on the train longer than his ticket allowed and approached him May 3 at the Woodcrest PATCO station in Cherry Hill.

Police documents say Fiocca asked for Patterson's ticket and a struggle ensued after Patterson responded angrily. Fiocca sprayed him in the face and Patterson fell onto the tracks, causing minor injuries.

A telephone number for Fiocca could not be located Sunday.

DRPA CEO John T. Hanson released the following statement on the incident:

“On May 3, 2016, an incident occurred involving a PATCO Transit Officer and an individual at Woodcrest Station.  The incident involved use of force by the officer in the arrest of the individual for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.  Once the incident was brought to the attention of the DRPA, the Officer was immediately suspended and his badge and weapon surrendered. At that time, the matter was turned over to the Camden County Prosecutor’s office for investigation. We have been informed that the Camden County Prosecutor’s office has decided not to take action. We have made a determination that the incident reflects actions inconsistent with our organizational core values and in direct conflict with the high standard of conduct we demand from our law enforcement officials. As a result, we have taken action to terminate the employment of the officer in question, effective immediately.”

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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