Former high-ranking Philadelphia police commander to be reinstated after arbitrator’s ruling

Carl Holmes, who spent nearly three decades on the force, was fired in 2019 after he was accused of having sexually assaulted three women at work.

A close-up of a police car.

File photo: A Police vehicle near the scene of a shooting in Philadelphia, Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Philadelphia police say a former high-ranking commander fired after he was charged with sexual assault will be reinstated following an arbitrator’s ruling in the wake of the dismissal of the cases against him.

Carl Holmes “will return to his previous rank of chief inspector” following an arbitrator’s ruling in his favor, Sgt. Eric Gripp, a spokesperson for the department, said in an email, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Holmes, who spent nearly three decades on the force and was also a lawyer, was fired in 2019 after he was accused of having sexually assaulted three women at work. The criminal cases involving two of the women were withdrawn in early 2021 and prosecutors dropped the last case in January 2023 after the accuser failed to appear in court.

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Roosevelt Poplar, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #5, said in a statement Friday that the union and the city had presented their respective cases to an arbitrator “as part of this officer’s due process rights” and the arbitrator “ruled in favor of the officer’s re-instatement.”

Gripp said the reinstatement process was “still underway” and he could not say when Holmes would return to the department.

Holmes was charged after a grand jury probe concluded that he abused his power after mentoring female officers at the police academy and in other roles. The charges came two years after the city settled a female detective’s sexual harassment lawsuit involving him for $1.25 million. Holmes denied the allegations.

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