A 20-year-old pizza deliveryman man mistakenly shot numerous times by two police officers in West Philadelphia in 2014 has been given $4.4 million by the City of Philadelphia.
Philippe Holland made his last delivery of the night, a cheeseburger order to a rowhouse near Kingsessing, when two plainclothes officers opened fire on his vehicle. Police Commissioner Richard Ross, first deputy commissioner in 2014, told NBC10 at the time that the officers were responding to a shooting.
"They're surveying the area and they see this male walking with a hoodie," 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."
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Holland either didn't hear them or thought they were fake cops trying to rob him, according to reports from 2014. When he got in his car and started to drive, the officers opened fire. Holland suffered bullet wounds to his head and body.
The settlement between Holland and the city closes two lawsuits: one for claims of assault and battery against the police officers in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court and a federal civil rights action.
"This settlement will not only compensate an innocent citizen who suffered devastating injuries but also served as a catalyst for significant reforms in the way our communities are policed by plainclothes officers,” said attorney Tom Kline, of Philadelphia law firm Kline & Specter.
Kline said the settlement is one of the largest ever for a police shooting.
Holland suffers from a permanent seizure disorder and other permanent injuries after extensive surgeries, according to a press release Friday. Bullet fragments remain lodged in his brain, the release noted.
The city said in an accompanying statement that the shooting was an impetus for implementing sweeping changes and enhancements to the way Philadelphia police officers are trained to interact with the public. The police department also reformed its use-of-force policy after a spike in police shootings and a Department of Justice review throughout 2014 and 2015.
"The Philadelphia Police Department has agreed under the settlement to implement a new training protocol for all current and new plainclothes police officers," City Solicitor Sozi Pedro Tulante said in the statement.
That is only a piece of what has been substantial change in use-of-force under the DOJ review and a March 2015 report that recommended 91 changes or enhancements by city police.
Of those, the city said in the release that 61 have been completed, including instituting training for "unconscious bias"; establishment of a single investigative unit devoted to criminal investigations of all deadly force incidents; and a requirement that all officers who discharge their firearms be interviewed within 72 hours of a shooting.
"Significantly, the city also agreed to produce a training video that all new plainclothes officers will be required to watch before new assignments and as part of roll call," Kline said.
That new training protocol will begin July 1.