$10 Million Civil Verdict Against Philadelphia Police Officer for Man Who Spent 3 Years in Jail on False Charges

A Philadelphia police officer has been found liable for $10 million in the 2011 arrest of a city man who spent three years in jail before being found innocent.

Khanefah Boozer was arrested by Officer Ryan Waltman after Waltman charged Boozer with shooting a gun at the officer. Boozer could not afford bail after the arrest and spent the time between his arrest and his trial in jail, according to Boozer's attorney Robert J. Levant.

Levant was expected to hold a press conference Thursday afternoon to discuss the civil verdict. It is believed to be the biggest finding against a city officer ever.

A spokesman for District Attorney Larry Krasner said the ruling would be reviewed as it relates to Waltman's testimony in other cases.

"If it’s determined that the officer engaged in misconduct, we will comply with our constitutional obligation to disclose that information to defense counsel," spokesman Ben Waxman said.

Waltman remains on the force as an officer. His salary was $74,334 in 2017, and he earned an additional $13,937 in overtime.

Investigators never followed up on claims Waltman made in his initial arrest report, according to a press advisory released by Levant's law firm.

Boozer was acquitted in his criminal trial when another man testified that he was actually the one who fired a gun into the air during the original incident in 2011, the press advisory said.

"Khanefah Boozer maintained throughout his ordeal that other individuals had fired a gun out of a car (shooting up in the air) and gave police their names and other identifying information. Police failed to investigate those individuals and did not recover a gun, shell casing or bullet," the advisory said. "After nothing was recovered, the officer amended his police report to note that our client had been standing next to another unknown African American male who fled the scene after the shot was fired. Mr. Boozer was acquitted following a jury trial in 2014 in which individuals (including the man who fired the gun into the air) testified in court, corroborating his version of the events."

Waltman is represented by attorneys for the City of Philadelphia. A spokesman for the city said they plan to appeal.

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