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Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images.
Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images.

Philly police officer who fatally shot 12-year-old in the back on March 1 will be fired

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw announced the decision on March 7, saying the officer violated the department’s Use of Force directives.

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On Monday, March 7, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw announced that the officer who fatally shot 12-year-old Thomas ‘TJ’ Siderio Jr. last week will be fired. 

The officer, who Outlaw has not yet identified, shot Siderio on March 1, as the boy was running away, striking him once in the upper right side of his back, with the bullet coming out through the front left side of his chest. 

Outlaw said the officer will be fired for violating the department’s “Use of Force” directives, including the use of excessive force in the shooting of Siderio. 

"All use of force has to be proportionate to the resistance they are trying to overcome. I will also tell you that our policy states excessive force will not be tolerated. That's the gist of what we're talking about,” Outlaw said. 

The officer will be suspended for 30 days with intent to dismiss, the standard process by which officers are removed from the force. 

This update came a week after Siderio was killed by officers near 18th and Barbara Streets in South Philadelphia. Police said four plainclothes officers were in an unmarked car around 7:20 p.m on March 1, staking out the area after seeing a social media post suggesting that a teen there had been carrying a gun. 

According to police, Siderio was with a 17-year-old friend when four officers in an unmarked vehicle approached them. 

The officers said they heard gunfire; a rear window shattered on their car. Two officers chased the 12-year-old, who police say was holding a 9mm semiautomatic handgun — and fatally shot him in the back.

There are conflicting accounts about when the plainclothes officers identified themselves — and whether or not Siderio had tossed the gun before they opened fire.

On Friday, March 4, the boy’s father, Thomas Siderio Sr., launched a lawsuit against the four officers by filing a writ of summons, which does not yet include a complaint. 

“The family is just wiped out by this. And it speaks to how much reform and oversight is needed in the Police Department and how now it is devastatingly bereft,” said J. Conor Corcoran, a civil rights attorney representing the family.

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