A grand jury has recommended that Detective James Pitts be charged with two counts of perjury and three counts of obstruction of law, District Attorney Larry Krasner said Thursday.
Pitts allegedly punched Obin Onya while questioning him about the crime, and he is accused of lying about it.
Onya was convicted of attempted robbery and murder of William Glatz at his jewelry store on October 21, 2010.
Authorities say the accomplice was killed during a shootout with Glats before he was shot, and another accomplice, a man described by surviving witnesses as “very slender” and 5’7 or 5’8 tall, escaped.
According to the district attorney’s office, Onya, 6 feet 3 meters tall, was implicated by a prison informant and gave a false confession to Detective Pitts.
Onya was imprisoned for 11 years but was acquitted on May 4, 2021 after authorities found evidence of coercion and police misconduct.
“The grand jury recommended allegations of interrogation in the interrogation room: punches, pokes – or as Mr. Onya described it as punches to the chest – and grabbing him by the neck and forcing him down between his legs,” said Michael Garmisch. from the Philadelphia Attorney’s Office.
After Pitts’ arrest, Onya’s lawyer Terry Himbo said: “(Onia) believes that this is an opportunity, not only his own justification, but also to solve the case, and the fact that this is not an isolated case.”
Detective Pitts became a police officer in 1996 and was promoted to detective in 1999. He joined the PPD Homicide Investigation Division as a detective in July 2006.
Police Commissioner Daniel Outlaw has dismissed James Pitts for 30 days with the intention of firing him after 30 days.
FOP № 5 Lodge President John McNesby issued the statement on the recommendation of the Grand Jury: “The FOP will represent this detective and provide adequate protection against these allegations.”
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