Former officer charged with assault for violent arrest caught on tape

Former Philadelphia police Officer James Yeager was arrested Thursday and charged with simple assault for throwing a man into the side of an aboveground swimming pool during a chaotic scene caught on cellphone video.

Yeager, 26, a four-year veteran of the force, was suspended in August with intent to dismiss after cellphone video emerged of him lifting a handcuffed male with his police baton and swinging him headfirst into the side of the pool on July 10 in Kensington.

The video was posted to Facebook, where it currently lists more than 572,000 views.

Officers were responding at the time to an apparent night-time pool party, and in the video, they were arresting a 21-year-old male on the 200 block of East Elkhart Street for narcotics.

Police said the male “was actively resisting arrest by swinging his arms and kicking” but had been handcuffed when Yeager attacked him.

“The footage depicted Officer James Yeager in full uniform grabbing the male after he was handcuffed and forcibly slamming him to the ground,” a police report stated. “In addition, the video shows Officer Yeager place his asp [baton] around the male’s chest, picking him up and swinging him around, causing the male to strike his head against the side of a pool.”

Philly Fraternal Order of Police President John McNesby asserted that Yeager would be found not guilty of the charges.

“The viral video of this incident does not tell the entire story,” McNesby said in a statement. “Officer Yeager, like all citizens, is entitled to a fair hearing in the judicial system. And we look forward to Officer Yeager being exonerated.”

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