Philly Officer Accused of Breaking Man's Leg 'for No Reason' - NBC Bay Area
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Philly Officer Accused of Breaking Man's Leg 'for No Reason'

Det. Adam O'Donnell, who was hailed a hero after surviving a shootout in 2010, is now facing felony charges.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    DA: Philly Detective Breaks Man's Leg

    A man is speaking out for the first time after officials accused a Philadelphia detective of breaking his leg and then dumping him on the side of the road. NBC10's Denise Nakano speaks to the man in an exclusive interview. (Published Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2016)

    A Philadelphia detective escorted a man out of police headquarters and after going out of view of the security cameras kicked him in the knee hard enough to break his leg, authorities said Wednesday.

    Adam O'Donnell, 43, a detective with the special victims unit who was hailed a hero for surviving a shootout in 2010, was suspended with intent to dismiss after being charged with aggravated and simple assault, kidnapping, unlawful restraint, obstructing administration of law and official oppression.

    The Philadelphia district attorney's office alleged that O'Donnell was escorting 45-year-old Ted Life III out of the special victims unit on Feb. 3 when he kicked the man in the knee when they were behind the building.

    "He held me in the cell for two hours for no reason," Life said. "Then (he) kicked my leg for no reason. He assaulted me." 

    Prosecutors said Life was able to stand but couldn't put any weight on the leg, and O'Donnell put him in an unmarked police vehicle and drove him to the Hunting Park neighborhood where he lives and then dropped him off "on a random roadside." Life was later treated for a femur fracture, "continues to walk with a limp" and is still being treated, prosecutors said.

    Life said O'Donnell referenced a lack of cameras in the area during the alleged assault.

    "(He said) 'What are you gonna do? There are no cameras out here,'" Life said.

    In a released statement, District Attorney Seth Williams said, a "senseless attack on one Philadelphian is an attack on all Philadelphians." Williams also added that he hopes the defendant is reminded that "when law enforcement does something to clearly hurt a complainant, it will not be tolerated and will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."

    Life told NBC10 he was pleased with the charges against O'Donnell. Police said Commissioner Richard Ross has suspended O'Donnell for 30 days with the intent to dismiss.

    John McNesby, the president of the Fraternal Order of Police, told NBC10 he doesn't believe O'Donnell should have been charged.

    "It's one word against another," McNesby said. "For him to be charged is ludicrous."

    McNesby said union lawyers will defend O'Donnell and work to get his job back.

    "He's out there doing the job every day and he's a mild mannered officer," McNesby said. "There's nothing here that leads me to believe that any of this is true."

    O'Donnell, who was hired by the department in 2006, was one of two offices injured in a shootout that ended with the death of a suspect more than five years ago.

    Police said the officers pulled over a minivan that ran a red light in west Philadelphia on New Year's Eve in 2010, but the suspect opened fire when officers approached and they returned fire and killed him.

    O'Donnell was hit in the stomach but was protected by his bulletproof vest and was treated at a hospital and released. A poster showing O'Donnell with his son which reads, "My dad was saved by his vest. Always wear your body armor," hangs at police headquarters.