2-Week Suspension For Lower Merion Cop In Controversial Traffic Stop
Officials also said the township and officer involved could be facing a lawsuit in connection with the Jan. 8 Bala Cynwyd traffic stop.
LOWER MERION TOWNSHIP, PA — The Lower Merion Township Police officer involved in the controversial Jan. 8 Bala Cynwyd traffic stop will be suspended for two weeks after a special meeting Wednesday.
The board of commissioners Wednesday voted 9-4 to approve disciplinary action for Officer Charles Murphy.
Police Superintendent Michael McGrath recommended Murphy be suspended for one, 8-hour day due to “violations of policy related to pursuit, the use of body-worn cameras… poor safety and tactics.”
However, Commissioner Daniel Bernheim said while he has great respect for McGrath, he did not agree with the recommended action.
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He introduced a motion for an 80-hour suspension.
The board then voted to approve the motion.
Murphy’s suspension is unpaid.
Before Bernheim’s motion was introduced, residents spoke out against the recommendation, with one calling it a “punch in the gut to this community.”
“You can do better, you must do better,” they said.
Brian Reese-Turner, President of the Main Line NAACP, said the recommendation was unacceptable.
“The gentleman who pulled the gun, who tased this woman, should be removed,” he said. “They should be relieved from their duties. They are not a characteristic officer that should be representing the Lower Merion Police Department.”
He said a one-day suspension “makes no sense.”
Police, he said, should not be the judge of their own conduct and called for an outside investigation into the incident.
Former Lower Merion Commissioner Brian Gordon said the board should reject McGrath’s recommendation for further discussion and study for a “more appropriate” disciplinary action.
Commissioner David McComb said before the discussion on the disciplinary action that the township and Murphy may be named defendants in a lawsuit related to the Jan. 8 incident.
“We’ve received notification of a possible lawsuit against the township and/or the officer with respect to the events,” he said.
The township’s legal counsel recommended officials be limited in what they say publicly because of pending litigation.
Watch Wednesday’s discussion on the disciplinary action below: