The death of Joseph Pacini by the Upper Darby police needs to be investigated

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Early in the evening of December 30, 2014, Joseph Pacini of Clifton Heights, PA was shot to death by the police in Drexel Hill. They were after him because he made threats to the police on three Youtube videos. After watching the videos, I posted my initial thoughts:

To me, it appears as though Pacini is severely mentally unstable.

Pacini’s ex-girlfriend, Lauren, reached out to me and told me that my feelings were correct. As it had been reported and then confirmed by Lauren, Joseph had been suffering from Huntington’s disease, an inherited condition that negatively affects motor skills and causes an increasing inability of the mind to function rationally. Pacini’s father committed suicide at the age of 52 after being diagnosed. His younger sister is currently in full nursing care because of it. His older sister, however, has not been affected.

The man that Lauren described was much different from the man we saw in the videos. What we saw in the videos was the disease. The real Joseph was a kind, gentle person who would do anything for a friend. He also had run a business, but things started to change some years ago and he began acting like somebody different. Knowing that it was the disease that was changing him, Lauren continued to be friends with Pacini until he died and also maintained contact with his family. She claims he was never violent, but he did suffer from outbursts brought on by Huntington’s with one such outburst causing his mother to call the police to get help from crisis intervention.

Ironically, it was this outburst that should have helped keep Joseph Pacini alive today. This call would have made the police take note of a possible mental issue so that they keep it on record for the future. It would have brought some sense to the Youtube videos he created. Based on the way they chose to engage Pacini without seeking someone else to intervene beforehand, they decided the mental illness didn’t matter.

Even in the police dispatch recording from Photography Is Not a Crime, they made no mention of possible mental issues when they were requesting backup from another department.

This is troublesome for several reasons. As I had said previously, “Given Pacini’s obvious unstable mental condition and his statement that he would rather be killed than go back to prison*, deadly violence was all but guaranteed if the police attempted to engage him,” the police were the wrong people to be the first to attempt to engage him. And then to make their mistake even worse, they were unable to apprehend him at his home before he got into his car. If it were just bad timing, they should have fallen back and waited for another opportunity. By pursuing Pacini in his car, they could have caused a chase—a very dangerous prospect in a very densely populated area of Upper Darby. On top of that, they gave him the opportunity to potentially use his car as a weapon, which was their justification for use of deadly force.

I carefully used the phrase “potentially use his car as a weapon” because we do not know exactly how the stop happened. Did Pacini actually ram his car into the police cruiser or did he accidentally back into it in a panic when he saw the blockade in front of him? How closely was the cruiser following behind him? When he moved forward again, was he actually trying to hit the police officers or was he driving in their general direction in an attempt to escape? The answers to these questions are hugely important. If you believe that the police were correct in engaging him in the first place, they mean the difference between justified use of force and murder.

This is why is absolutely imperative for the Haverford, Clifton Heights, and Upper Darby police departments to release any and all dashcam footage of the incident. The police killed a man, so it’s quite natural for the people responsible for the death to spin what happened in their favor. Dashcam footage would provide much needed objectivity.

The other issue at hand is how callously the police officers were ordered into such danger by their superiors. It’s bad enough that the order was given to serve a warrant for a situation that was all but guaranteed to end violently, but it is disgraceful that they would also call for backup from another department without mentioning the key factor of mental illness in play. People refer to how this went down as “good police work,” but how good does Upper Darby police superintendent Michael Chitwood think it would be if one of his men were seriously injured or killed? Yes, police work has the potential to be dangerous, but it is criminal to put people in danger when it is not absolutely necessary.

Things do not seem right here. How could the police have been so ignorant of Pacini’s mental illness? How could they be so careless to execute a pursuit in a highly populated neighborhood and business area and then fire off at least 22 shots?

There are even rumors that one of the police officers involved feels so distraught over what happened that he is considering resigning from the force.

Let’s not forget Joseph Pacini. We can’t bring him back, but if we bring some accountability to the police, then maybe we can prevent something like this from happening again. This isn’t about revenge. This is about saving lives.

 

*For the record, Pacini had never served time in prison.

 

If you have any information about this story, please contact us at rollomcfloogle@gmail.com.

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Anthony Giello
Guest

Totally agree,somebody should be held accountable for Joe’s murder!

Robert
Guest
Let’s look at the facts here from what’s been reported. The man threatened someone at the planet fitness (or LA Fitness) in Havertown. The police officer investigating the incident reached out to the Pacini and asked him to call him, after all, there is always more than one side to a story. The police were (get ready for this!)…DOING THEIR JOB! Investigating an incident! Oh, what is the world coming to? Pacini then posts a threat laced video on YouTube, also making claims that were the complete opposite about the message the police officer left. So, if one has done… Read more »
Slappy Jones
Admin

Did you read the article?

Rita
Guest

why is always someone who knows NOTHING about police work who has something to say about it.

LAUREN
Guest

POLICE WORK ??? RITA YOU KNOW NOTHING ABOUT THIS SUBJECT OR THE CIRCUMSTANCES THAT HAPPENED THAT DAY! POLICE OFFICERS BREAK LAWS AND ARE NOT ALWAYS RIGHT JUST BECAUSE THEY HAVE A BADGE DOESNT MEAN THEY DONT MAKE ERRORS .JOSEPH PACiNI WAS MURDERED and IT WAS UNJUSTIFIED AND WAS NOT RIGHT ON ALL LEVELS!!#!

Anon
Guest
Police work doesn’t have the potential to be dangerous. It is dangerous. There were two other Police Dept. that were involved in the actual shooting not just UD. Also to ease your mind, it is being investigated. Don’t you think this could have been prevented if more family and friends were concerned when they saw signs of his mental illness and were patient enough to help him instead of thinking someone else will do it? I could easily blame the people in his life for his death just as much for not doing all they can to help him or… Read more »
Jul
Guest

this is such bs and None of the UDPD and haverford police officers want to resign.
A threat is a threat. You can’t take any chances now in days.

Jul
Guest

Well said

Jul
Guest

Well said anon(the previous comment) This article isn’t well said at all.

LAUREN
Guest

To all comments made the family and friends a did reach out to Clifton Heights department for mental health crisis invention fyi this is the truth , also there was without a doubt a better way to handle this so please no more comments it’s painful enough that a life was loss

LAUREN
Guest

The statement regarding the officer thinking about resigning is true He knew Joseph and was one of the department s that was called for back-up They were unaware of his mental illness and dispatch didn’t disclose this which was unfortunate It happened so quickly that not all involved we’re aware that’s sad and yes thank you for condolences

Kevin white
Guest

I absolutly hate upper Darby cops nothing but gun toting thugs who think they can do what they please they are also racist why do u think there are only whites in the UDPD no other race at all they are absolute thugs be carful what u say or do they jus might directly attack u jus like if they knew who wrote this they would be coming right over cuz there thugs not cops

Anon
Guest

You’re wrong there’s actually 3 black cops 🙂 and make sure you don’t call them when you are in trouble! God bless Mr. White

LAUREN
Guest

To Anon your obviously a cop I am sick of your comments why don’t u give your name Are u amused by this or did God not bless u between your legs,?????

Anon
Guest

Nope not a cop lauren just well informed.

Anon
Guest

and who says I’m a man? If you don’t want people to express their opinion dont post controversial articles.

mel
Guest

Its very easy for people to judge without facts.the mental health system sucks.I hate when people are quick to comment and judge the police. When you are in a situation like that, you react from the training you are taught and to protect the public.no, I’m not a member of the police, I hate when people want to throw the blame on the police so they don’t feel guilty for not doing more to help the person involved.

Anon
Guest

Agreed people need to wake up and take responsibility and stop blaming everyone else. It is what it is. Sad but true, being angry and blaming cops or anyone isn’t gonna do a damn thing. Just forgive and let go and find away to educate and inform not blame!

Anon
Guest

This was to Mel’s post

LAUREN
Guest

Anon Why are you anonymous?? Your not well informed and your just ignorant of the entire story so if your not a cop and not a man who are u? and why make ruderude and stupid comments Go get the dash cams and subject closed

Anon
Guest

you’re** not well informed
You’re*** just ignorant
You* not “u”. Does it bother you Im anonymous? I don’t feel like being blamed for anything since everyone likes to place blame on others ya know? That’s all.

LAUREN
Guest

Anon I’m more than well informed and I also know Joseph and the entire situation Yeas you are a coward and and being anonymous is just weak . SHUT IT DOWN already with your know it all ignorant and arrogant attitude Your comments are pretty obvious as to what and who u are as a person insecure and they mean nothing because you are nobody anon right lol

LAUREN
Guest

everyone has their opinion and everyone has their own take on what took place that day me being personally involved with these people I would appreciate if you would stop this conversation and comments that are unnecessary and I wish you would stop saying helloeveryonenew doing the blame game it’s no good for anyone and lives were lost please!!

LAUREN
Guest

JOSEPH PACINI WAS MURDERED BY THE POLICE RELEASE THE DASH CAMS AND THE TRUTH SHALL COME OUT!!!!

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