PHILADELPHIA (November 17, 2022) – District Attorney Larry Krasner issued the following statement following a sentencing hearing for former Philadelphia Police Officer Eric Ruch, who was convicted last month for the killing of an unarmed Black man:
“On December 27, 2017, then-Philadelphia Police Officer Eric Ruch shot and killed Dennis Plowden through his raised left hand, and into the head, while he was seated on a sidewalk surrendering and unarmed.
“On June 12, 2018, the Philadelphia Police Department notified then-Officer Ruch that he was suspended for 30 days with the intent to dismiss for ‘Disobedience: discharging, using, displaying, or improper handling of a firearm while not in accordance with Departmental Policy.’
“On October 9, 2020, following a presentment to the 30th County Investigating Grand Jury, the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office arrested and charged Eric Ruch for his role in the murder of Dennis Plowden.
“Following an eight-day jury trial, Eric Ruch was convicted of Voluntary Manslaughter and Possession of an Instrument of Crime on September 21, 2022.
“Eric Ruch’s sentencing hearing was scheduled this morning. According to guidelines from the Pennsylvania Sentencing Commission, the standard range for a defendant with no prior convictions, and who is convicted of Voluntary Manslaughter where a deadly weapon was used, is a minimum of 54 months and a maximum of 72 months.
“When the minimum sentence of incarceration is 54 months, Pennsylvania Sentencing Commission recommendations allow judges to sentence defendants up to 12 months lower than the minimum. According to these guidelines, a fully mitigated recommended sentence for Eric Ruch would be a minimum 42-month sentence.
“Today, Court of Common Pleas Judge Barbara McDermott sentenced Ruch to 11½ to 23 months incarceration and ordered him eligible for reentry. For the crime of Voluntary Manslaughter with a deadly weapon, this sentence falls far below state guidelines.
“The Sentencing Commission was created by the Pennsylvania General Assembly in 1978 to further the legislature’s goals of ‘a consistent and rational statewide sentencing policy through the adoption of guidelines (42 Pa.C.S. §2154) that promote fairer and more uniform sentencing throughout the Commonwealth.’ The legislature authorized the courts and county prosecutors to exercise their discretion, making deviations from the guidelines possible.
“The Commonwealth is also authorized to appeal sentencing decisions that fall too far below or too far above the recommended range — when the interests of justice and accountability demand. My office will be reviewing our appellate options in the matter concerning Eric Ruch in the coming weeks.”
Jane Roh, 215-686-8711, [email protected]
The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office is the largest prosecutor’s office in Pennsylvania, and one of the largest in the nation. It serves the more than 1.5 million residents of the City and County of Philadelphia, employing 600 lawyers, detectives, and support staff. The District Attorney’s Office is responsible for the prosecution of approximately 40,000 criminal cases annually. Learn more about the DAO by visiting PhillyDA.org.