Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner said Tuesday the sentencing of a former Philadelphia Police officer convicted of killing an unarmed man is well beneath the recommended guidelines.
Former officer Eric Ruch was sentenced earlier this month to 11.5 to 23 months in prison for the 2017 killing of Dennis Plowden following a car chase and shooting in East Germantown. Plowden was unarmed. Ruch was fired from the department 10 months after the incident.
He was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter and possession of an instrument of crime in September, but was acquitted of third-degree murder.
The recommended sentence for the charges is 54 to 72 months in prison, according to Krasner.
He called the decision by the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas as a “troubling” and “gross departure” from the guidelines.
“During the hearing, this court blamed the victim in the case in ways that we respectfully submit are improper, excessive and unusual,” Krasner said.
“The reality is that Judge McDermott has agreed with us over and over again in many other cases, including when we did some very sensitive cases, such as juvenile life sentences,” Krasner said. “I don’t think it’s a fair characterization that we are always in a different position than this judge – However, we strongly disagree on this one.”
Krasner’s office filed a motion to reconsider the sentence. During the press conference, Krasner said his office also has the option to appeal the sentencing.
Ruch’s trial was the first murder trial for an on-duty officer in Philadelphia history. During the trial, Ruch told jurors he feared for his life. Defense attorneys argued he shot when Plowden made a suspicious movement with his hands. Prosecutors said there was no justification to shoot Plowden, noting that several other officers took cover and held their fire.