Jeffrey Dennis

Jeffrey Dennis, 36, was shot and killed by a plainclothes narcotics officer during the execution of a warrant in Philadelphia on Aug. 20.

— Submitted Photo

No charges will be filed against a police officer who shot and killed a Black man in Philadelphia’s Tacony neighborhood over the summer.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced Tuesday that officer Richard Nicoletti will not be charged in the fatal shooting of Jeffrey Dennis, 36.

“My office conducted a thorough four-month review of this case, interviewing witnesses, examining video footage, and analyzing all available evidence,” Shapiro said. “We applied the facts to Pennsylvania law, and accordingly, no criminal charges against Richard Nicoletti will be filed by my office.”

On Aug. 20, Nicoletti, a 29-year veteran assigned to the Narcotics Field Unit, along with five other officers were conducting an undercover investigation on the 7100 block of Cottage Street.

The officers were preparing to execute a search warrant at the home and were conducting surveillance when they spotted a 2010 Toyota Camry driven by Dennis. Investigators say they identified the vehicle as being involved with prior drug activity at the home targeted in the warrant.

Surveillance video shows Nicoletti and the other officers using their unmarked police vehicles to box in the Toyota Camry. The officers then left their vehicles and approached the Camry. Police say Dennis failed to listen to their commands to shut the engine off and began striking the police vehicles with his car.

One of the officers then shattered the driver’s side window as Dennis continued trying to escape, investigators said. Police said one of the officers was struck by Dennis’ vehicle.

Nicoletti, who was near the driver’s door of the Camry, then fired three shots, striking Dennis in the head and left arm. A medic arrived at the scene and Dennis was pronounced dead. Three of the responding officers suffered minor injuries during the incident.

Philadelphia Police Department policy directives state: “Police officers shall not discharge their firearms AT a vehicle unless a person in the vehicle is immediately threatening the officer or another person with deadly force by means other than the vehicle (e.g., officers or civilians are being fired upon by the occupants of the vehicle).”

The policy directive goes on to say that officers shall not remain in the path of a vehicle, and that being in the path of a vehicle is not justification for discharging a weapon.

Police Commissioner Richard Ross said in August that it was “a volatile situation.”

“Quite candidly we have some concerns about the shooting, too, some of the tactics that were used,” Ross said. “We’re looking very, very closely.”

Ross met with Dennis’ family and answered their questions. They called for Nicoletti to be removed from the police force and to be charged with premeditated murder. Nicoletti was placed on administrative leave.

The Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police called for due process for the officers involved.

“It’s unfortunate that city leaders and others are prematurely second-guessing the tactics of police officers during a volatile and chaotic situation that lead to the death of an alleged drug suspect,” FOP Lodge 5 President John McNesby said in a written statement following the shooting. “...We ask everyone to hold judgment until all the facts are known and a complete investigation has been undertaken.”

Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner recused himself and his office from investigating the matter. A spokesman for Krasner confirmed he was Dennis’ criminal defense attorney a few years ago when he was facing drug charges.

Shapiro then accepted the referral and his office handled the investigation.

“Violations of police procedure do not always rise to the level of criminal charges,” Shapiro wrote. “Whether Philadelphia Police Department procedure was followed during this incident was not in the scope of our investigation, and will be addressed by Commissioner Ross and the Department.”

Shapiro said he met with Dennis’ family multiple times during the investigation and that he informed them Tuesday of the decision to not file charges.

“Mr. Dennis’ death leaves a family in mourning and children missing their father, and I am deeply saddened by that loss,” Shapiro wrote.

The state attorney general said his office released the surveillance video of the incident in order to “promote transparency.”

“I know the outcome of this case is frustrating to some, and I understand the very real mistrust that exists between our communities and law enforcement,” Shapiro said.

“I swore an oath to assess the findings of every investigation and apply them to the law, which is what the Office of Attorney General has done in this case and does in every case,” he added. — (NBC10)

(13) comments

AMagaGuy

Didn't this guy injure an officer with his car while they were trying to bring him in? No, this was self defense.

Decisions can be fatal

Its unfortunate that the driver was persistent in his actions by using his vehicle to exit the scene, which may have caused significant bodily harm to himself, innocent civilian's, as well as the arresting officers. It is apparent that we exercise wise judgment when we come into contact with Law Enforcement Officers who are in the process of protecting our community. It is best to accept the fact that once our Police engage in with anyone who "may be involved in any form of Criminal Activity," it always best to surrender peacefully, and allow our Criminal Courts decide/apply the law justly and fairly to those involve in the matter.

Guest

Except did you watch the video? These “officers” are in plainclothes and show no badges and appear to ambush him. If it were me I would have tried to drive away too. There was no immediate threat to any of them and no reason to just shoot him in the head. Watch the video.

Guest

They were in plain clothes! Witnesses say they didn’t identify themselves, just told him to turn off the vehicle. Witnesses thought it was a Mob hit! It’s Philadelphia! What to you think was going through his mind? Did you even see police lights! That’s scary! We all know the police are a gang. This is just further proof. A bunch of plain clothes black guys surround your car w/ guns and don’t Identify themselves, start breaking your windows, your face is cut badly an glass in your eyes! (Feel free to read his mother’s statement) What would you do? I know, you’d roll you window down and say “how can I help ya” right? Smh. Obviously humanity only applies to Caucasians and pet dogs!

Guest

In this city where we have the black clery the tribune and all other organization to speak out not one of them challenge this. This is a sign nobody is for cause is all politics. Yet they want us to believe and media gave very little attention. Mayor Kenny should no twin a 2nd term.

Guest

They were in plain clothes! Witnesses say they didn’t identify themselves, just told him to turn off the vehicle. Witnesses thought it was a Mob hit! It’s Philadelphia! What to you think was going through his mind? Did you even see police lights! That’s scary! We all know the police are a gang. This is just further proof. A bunch of plain clothes black guys surround your car w/ guns and don’t Identify themselves, start breaking your windows, your face is cut badly an glass in your eyes! (Feel free to read his mother’s statement) What would you do? I know, you’d roll you window down and say “how can I help ya” right? Smh. Obviously humanity only applies to Caucasians and pet dogs!

Guest

They were in plain clothes! Witnesses say they didn’t identify themselves, just told him to turn off the vehicle. Witnesses thought it was a Mob hit! It’s Philadelphia! What to you think was going through his mind? Did you even see police lights! That’s scary! We all know the police are a gang. This is just further proof. A bunch of plain clothes black guys surround your car w/ guns and don’t Identify themselves, start breaking your windows, your face is cut badly an glass in your eyes! (Feel free to read his mother’s statement) What would you do? I know, you’d roll you window down and say “how can I help ya” right? Smh. Obviously humanity only applies to Caucasians and pet dogs!

Guest

That video is SCARY. THE COPS JUST MURDERED that man. " The Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police called for DUE PROCESS for the officers involved."
BUT NO DUE PROCESS FOR THE MAN YOU JUST MURDERED.. NO TRIAL NO NOTHING. JUST A MEXICAN CARTEL STYLE STREET RAID, UNMARKED CARS, NO UNIFORMS AND SHOT HIM IN THE FACE LESS THAN 60 SECONDS INTO THE SITUATION.
THEY DIDNT TAZE HIM, THEY DIDNT SHOOT THE TIRES OUT, THEY SHOT THE FATHER OF 3 IN THE FACE, THREE TIMES.
THE POLICE ARE THE WORST GANG. THEY ONLY CARE ABOUT THEIR FATERNAL ORDER AND UPKEEPING AT ALL COSTS.

AMagaGuy

These cops didn't murder anyone. "Witnesses said...?" These plainclothes officers identified themselves and the suspect - who had been arrested before - clearly knew what was going on. Yeah. I watched the video. Several times. "Mob hit?" Gimme a break. There is no real Philadelphia "Family" anymore. But let's get back to "Witnesses said..." Where are these "witnesses" when a young Black man gets gunned down by another young Black man? Where are those witnesses when a young mother and her children are killed by stray bullets? Where were those witnesses when a young Black woman was shot 20 times by gun wielding thugs in broad daylight? But when police officers are doing their jobs, suddenly, there are witnesses coming out of the wood work.

Guest

The thing that invalidated your statement is when you bring up a "young Black man gets gunned down by another young Black man". This is one of the most ubsurb comment to date. Do you note the color differences of "white on white murder"? NO. In fact, no one does this for any other race or ethnicity. Do you know why? Because it is not real. Murder is murder. Although there are murders in the black community, there are also more in other communities but I don't see the "white on white crime " verbiage being thrown around ever. You don't have the right to say that, regardless of what race you are (black, white, or indifferent). The statement itself was contrived based on racist rhetoric. Just like the "Blacks are lazy" (which I'll note you did not say and I'm not implying you believe that). That statement was contrived when black people would no longer work for free after the abolishment of slavery and it stuck without people knowing from where it derived. If you research this you will learn of it. Enough is enough. If you believe the officers were in their right (which I don't. It should have been handled differently...and I'm actually FOR police as my family serves) then so be it but don't make ill mannered statements to corroborate your statement or opinion. So sick of it. You probably didn't mean it this way but even if you did, it is wrong.

Guest

If you watched the video, did you ever at one point see any officers in danger of getting hit? Did you see any officers pinned down by the car as the police report says? Did you see anyone flash their badge or mention of a warrent at Jeffrey Daniels? The only person that identifies himself as police in a police vest is standing behind Mr. Daniels' car.

Guest

Before I saw the video and just read the stories, I thought the man was simply executed for nothing. But then I saw him slamming his car around and nearly running over officers. How scary for the officers. Moral: Don't do drugs. Don't sell drugs. Don't slam cop cars.

Guest

This p o s knew they were cops didn't care now he won't be peddling his poison anymore

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