District attorney presses for former Philly cop to serve more time for killing unarmed Black man

Larry Krasner says judge was too lenient in issuing ‘unreasonable’ decision
Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner (center left) announced Tuesday he's filed a motion for reconsideration in the sentencing of former Philly police officer Eric Ruch. Ruch was sentenced to 11 to 23 1/2 months in prison for voluntary manslaughter.
Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner (center left) announced Tuesday he's filed a motion for reconsideration in the sentencing of former Philly police officer Eric Ruch. Ruch was sentenced to 11 to 23 1/2 months in prison for voluntary manslaughter. Photo credit Philadelphia District Attorney's Office

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — District Attorney Larry Krasner wants a stricter sentence for a former Philadelphia police officer who killed an unarmed Black man in 2017.

Krasner announced Tuesday he had filed a motion for reconsideration in the sentencing of Eric Ruch.

In September, a jury convicted the 34-year-old of voluntary manslaughter and possession of an instrument in a crime in the shooting death of Dennis Plowden in 2017. The jury, however, found him not guilty of a more serious third-degree murder charge.

Judge Barbara McDermott sentenced Ruch earlier this month to 11 ½ to 23 months in prison — what is known as a county sentence — meaning he does not have to go to a state prison.

She said earlier this month that Ruch is not a danger to the community and does not need to be rehabilitated — both factors to be considered in fashioning a sentence — but because there was a conviction related to loss of life, he must spend some time in prison.

Krasner says McDermott should have sentenced Ruch to more time behind bars. He called her decision “unreasonable” in his motion.

“The court relied on improper reasons and gave undue emphasis to reasons that are standard, routine, or reasons that are already accounted for, due to this as a voluntary manslaughter conviction,” Krasner told reporters.

“The fact is that, during the hearing, this court blamed the victim in the case in ways we believe are improper, excessive and unusual.”

Plowden crashed his vehicle in Ogontz after a brief car chase back in December 2017. The prosecutor and defense attorney both said that Plowden hit a police officer’s car as well as many other vehicles as he ran red lights and stop signs.

He was sitting on a sidewalk when, Ruch and other officers testified, he refused to comply with police orders to raise both of his hands, keeping his right hand tucked away.

Ruch shot Plowden in the head because, he said, he believed Plowden had a gun in his pocket and intended to shoot him. Investigators later determined Plowden was unarmed.

According to the District Attorney’s Office, Ruch is the first Philadelphia police officer ever convicted for an on-duty killing.

His defense attorney responded to the press conference and said they believe the court “fairly considered all the appropriate factors and imposed a fair and just sentence.”

Featured Image Photo Credit: Philadelphia District Attorney's Office