Accused of sexually assaulting a woman while on-duty two years ago, retired Philadelphia police officer Thomas O’Neill, 47, was indicted Wednesday with one count of deprivation of rights under color of law. According to the indictment, O’Neill used his gun during the assault while making racist remarks.
On July 3, 2016, O’Neill alleged assaulted a black woman inside his patrol car. O’Neill, who is white, has been accused of rubbing his gun against her during the assault.
While filing a civil lawsuit against O’Neill and the city, the publicly unidentified woman alleged that a portion of the assault was caught on a school’s surveillance video. She also accused O’Neill of making racist comments throughout the incident.
Two months after the alleged assault, O’Neill retired from the department. On Wednesday, a federal grand jury charged him with one count of deprivation of rights under color of law.
“No matter who you are, if you commit a violent crime, we are committed to holding you accountable and keeping our community safe,” said U.S. Attorney William McSwain in a recent statement.
During an interview Wednesday, John McNesby, president of Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5, stated, “If what they’re saying is true, that’s a horrendous crime. It is what it is. He’s on his own.”
If convicted, O’Neill faces a maximum sentence of 10 years’ incarceration, a 3-year period of supervised release, a $250,000 fine, and a $100 special assessment.