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Richard DeCoatsworth: Former police officer once hailed as hero arrested in Port Richmond


Richard DeCoatsworth, a former Philadelphia police officer once hailed as a hero and given a seat next to First Lady Michelle Obama at a speech by President Barack Obama, has been arrested and charged with rape and other crimes.

Authorities allege that former officer Richard DeCoatsworth left a party with two women early Thursday and took them to another location, where they claim that he produced a handgun and “forced the two females to engage in the use of narcotics and s***al acts”.

A police spokeswoman said the two called police after he left, and 27-year-old Richard DeCoatsworth was charged with rape, s***al assault, terroristic threats and related offenses.

Richard DeCoatsworth was hailed as a hero after he was shot in the face during a traffic stop in September 2007 but still managed to chase after his attacker, who was later sentenced to 36 to 72 years in prison.

He was invited by Vice President Joe Biden to attend President Barack Obama’s televised February 2009 address to Congress and sat with first lady Michelle Obama.

Former Philadelphia police officer Richard DeCoatsworth once hailed as a hero and given a seat next to Michelle Obama, has been arrested and charged with rape and other crimes

Former Philadelphia police officer Richard DeCoatsworth once hailed as a hero and given a seat next to Michelle Obama, has been arrested and charged with rape and other crimes

Richard DeCoatsworth said he didn’t know why he had been singled out, but being in the presence of the nation’s leaders was an honor “that I will keep with me for the rest of my life”.

WCAU-TV, which first reported his arrest, said Richard DeCoatsworth retired from the department on disability in December 2011.

Police were tight-lipped Saturday about the details of the incident, declining to give even general locations for the party.

According to investigators, at around 2 a.m. Thursday, two 20-year-old women were at a social gathering at an unknown locale when they bumped into Richard DeCoatsworth and later left with him, NBC 10 Philadelphia reported.

The trio then went to the home of one of the women in the Fishtown/Kensington area, where the alleged incident took place involving drugs, s***al acts and use of a firearm. The two women contacted police after Richard DeCoatsworth left.


At around 6.30 a.m. Saturday, police raided the retired officer’s house in the 2700 block of Salmon Street in Port Richmond and took him into custody.

Richard DeCoatsworth’s record with the local police department was far from spotless. Before leaving the force, he was involved in two others incidents in April and September of 2009 where he shot two suspects.

The Philadelphia cop retired in December 2011 at age 25 after accumulating nine Internal Affairs complaints lodged by citizens accusing him of assault, abuse and misconduct.

Last year, an arrest warrant was issued for Richard DeCoatsworth after he allegedly threatened his neighbor’s mother.

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