Former Philly police officer to stand trial for first-degree murder of 12-year-old boy

A judge approved charges against a former Philly police officer. It’s one of three murder cases brought against police by the DA in five years.

Philadelphia DA Larry Krasner speaking at a press conference October 5, 2022. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

Philadelphia DA Larry Krasner speaking at a press conference October 5, 2022. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

A judge’s decision to move forward with first-degree murder charges against a former Philadelphia police officer is historic, said District Attorney Larry Krasner.

The case against Edsaul Mendoza stems from the March shooting death of TJ Siderio, a 12-year-old who was running from police when he was shot.

“The message here is that this is no longer a cover-up organization for criminal acts committed by anyone, and anyone includes a Philadelphia police officer,” Krasner said, adding that the investigation into the case is not over.

“We’ll continue to investigate this case against this defendant, Mr. Mendoza, with vigor and with fairness as their oaths oblige them and every prosecutor in this and every other office to do every day,” he said. “A society in which the law is respected and followed by everyone is a society where the law applies in an even-handed manner to everyone equally.”

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Krasner has prosecuted three Philly officers on murder charges in his five years in office. There have been 150 additional incidents involving officers, where his office declined to pursue charges. He does not believe he is being aggressive in going after police officers.

“I would respectfully disagree that what we’re doing is aggressive. What we’re doing is we’re just not covering up anymore. We are willing in that exceptional case– and there are exceptional cases– where the conduct of a police officer on duty or off duty is criminal.”

Krasner went on to say that he believes the preliminary hearing shows that first-degree murder charges were justified in this case.

“The judge after hearing evidence for three hours made that determination. And yes, we would not have charged Mendoza with first-degree murder, among other charges, unless we believe it was justified. An independent judge independently hearing the evidence yesterday confirmed it. It was also confirmed by a grand jury that spent quite a bit of time going over the evidence.”

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The case now moves to trial.

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