City officer confesses he shot himself

PHILADELPHIA. The contest for dumbest Philadelphia cop of the year received another entry yesterday when police announced that a 21-year veteran who claimed being shot last month by a black robbery suspect fired the round himself.

Sgt. Robert Ralston, 46, of the 19th District, received immunity for his confession and will not face criminal charges a result, but he received a 30-day suspension with the intent to dismiss. Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey said officials weren’t sure why Ralston made up the story, but that he was possibly seeking attention or a transfer.

Ralston’s admission is the latest in a series of police blunders, which has led the department to change its hiring standards. Last week, Rudolph Gary was charged with murder for fatally shooting his estranged wife’s brother while off-duty. Ramsey called the falsified story “a terrible and embarrassing chapter in our history.”

Even police union officials shook their head and said they will not appeal Ralston’s dismissal.

“In 20-plus years with the police department, I’ve seen a lot of things but I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Fraternal Order of Police President John McNesby. “By no way do we want this to diminish the heroic acts by our officers.”

Ironically, yesterday was the department’s bi-annual commendation ceremony for valor, bravery and heroism and nearly 60 officers were honored.

“On a day where we’re honoring people who are in the grave, we’re getting a story like this,” McNesby added. “It’s a disgrace.”

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