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For the Commonwealth: Restorative Justice Facilitator Jody Dodd & Assistant District Attorney Liam Riley

New in For the Commonwealth: DAO Restorative Justice Facilitator Jody Dodd and Assistant District Attorney Liam Riley helped secure justice in a case involving a 24-year-old defendant accused of assaulting Philadelphia police officers after they responded to a call that the defendant’s partner was dangling from a balcony during a mental health crisis on the evening of October 9, 2020. The defendant, who has a history of mental health challenges and was distraught at the rough manner in which the officers wrestled her to the ground, began punching them. He later apologized to them as they were placing him in their patrol car. After speaking to the officers and to the defendant’s attorney, ADA Riley reached out to RJF Dodd after all parties agreed to explore a restorative justice process to resolve the case. Rev. Donna Jones and volunteers with Restorative Cities organized two preparatory sessions for all involved parties, followed by a community conference. At the conference, the defendant, who was joined by his mother, again apologized to the officers and explained his distraught state of mind at the time. The officers also apologized, explaining that their adrenaline was high and that they overreacted. Following this conference, all parties agreed to a wider conference involving more community members. During this conference, each participant discussed the impact that mental health calls involving police have on all involved. Following the resolution of this restorative justice process, this case was withdrawn and the defendant was able to avoid a damaging criminal record that would have resulted in the loss of employment and access to public housing, while the police complainants reported high satisfaction with the outcome.

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