Philadelphia – In December 2017, community members began searching for answers after an unarmed man was shot and killed by a police officer in an unmarked car who claimed that he opened fire because he had his hand in his pocket. But their victim, 25-year-old Dennis Plowden Jr. was unarmed and was not a threat when cops opened fire on him just six seconds after they stopped the vehicle.
For years, Plowden’s family sought justice and this month, they found out that justice will not come. Disgraced officer Eric Ruch Jr. — who put a bullet in Plowden’s head that night — was sentenced to just 11 months in jail.
Ruch, 34, was charged in 2020 and convicted in September 2022 of voluntary manslaughter and a weapons charge. The voluntary manslaughter charge alone was supposed to come with a 20-year sentence. However, Ruch, according to the court, “demonstrated good behavior” since he murdered Plowden, so he will not have to spend years in prison for his crimes.
“Nothing he is going to do in prison is going to make him a better person,” Common Pleas Court Judge Barbara McDermott said.
“I wasn’t surprised, but I was disappointed,” Plowden’s widow, Tania Bond, said outside the courthouse, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. “Who wastes five years to come to court and hear 11 to 23 months? Did we value Dennis’ life or did we just throw something out there to feel like we shut the family up and feel like we satisfied?”