Former Pa. cop cleared in jail-cell TASER incident

Officer says he will return to police work after being declared 'not guilty'

By Stephanie Farr
The Philadelphia Daily News

COLWYN, Pa. --Former Officer Trevor Parham said that he intends to return to police work after a judge found him not guilty Wednesday on criminal charges relating to his use of a Taser on a juvenile who was shackled and handcuffed in a holding cell this year.

"I'm not a bad officer; I've never been accused of being a bad officer," Parham said. "It was just some bad political circumstances."

Delaware County Judge Kevin Kelly found Parham, 40, of Drexel Hill, not guilty of simple assault and official oppression following a two-day bench trial.

Parham never denied using a Taser on 17-year-old Da'Qwan Jackson while the teen was handcuffed and shackled in the borough's holding cell on a disorderly conduct charges April 24.

Thomas Fitzpatrick, Parham's attorney, said that his client was used as a "political football" in the tiny borough of 2,500 that's been beleaguered by racial and political tensions for years.

"What we've maintained from the beginning is, whatever quarrels existed, they were departmental issues, not criminal issues," Fitzpatrick said.

Parham also never denied that he had texted that Jackson "got tased in the cell. lol," to another Colwyn cop whom he was dating at the time.

"There was no malicious intent in the text message," Parham said. "It was officer-to-officer humor."

Parham said he'll return to policing again, but he doesn't know if it will be in Colwyn. He said he'll appeal his termination.

Colwyn Mayor Daniel Rutland said that he won't be offering Parham his job back. "He was not let go strictly because of the Tasing incident," he said, declining to elaborate.

Delaware County District Attorney Jack Whelan, whose office brought the charges against Parham, said he was "surprised and disappointed" by Kelly's verdict.

"I stand by our position that this was criminal conduct," he said. "It's offensive to me. I respect the court's decision but it's the actions of the officer that are offensive."

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