By Associated Press - Thursday, April 1, 2021

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A pair of brothers who served together on the Philadelphia Police Department were charged Thursday with simple assault and other offenses, accused of injuring a man they mistakenly thought had broken into vehicles.

Inspector James Smith, 52, and former Detective Patrick Smith, 53, were off duty and in a car when they confronted a 27-year-old pedestrian in a shopping center parking lot in August, according to the district attorney’s office.

District Attorney Larry Krasner told reporters that the Smith brothers falsely identified themselves as being members of a “town watch” as they pushed the victim into a wall. The victim, described as having Asperger syndrome, suffered a black eye and bruises on his head, arms and legs.

Patrick Smith retired shortly after the internal affairs investigation began and now works as an agent for the gun violence task force run by Krasner’s office and the attorney general’s office. A spokesperson for the attorney general said Patrick Smith was put on administrative duty with pay for the duration of the case.

Philadelphia Police said David Smith was suspended for 30 days with the department’s intention to fire him.

Krasner said there is no evidence to support the Smiths’ purported belief that the victim, who has no criminal record, may have previously broken into vehicles.

They were also charged with conspiracy and reckless endangerment.

It was unclear if the defendants were represented by lawyers. The police union president issued a statement calling the charges against them baseless.

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