Former cop who killed unarmed Black man charged with 1st degree murder

Former cop who killed unarmed Black man charged with 1st degree murder
Former Philadelphia police officer Eric Ruch, Jr. (Philadelphia Police Department)

After three long years, a former officer of the law has been charged with first-degree murder for his part in the death of an unarmed Black man who was attempting to comply with orders.

Eric Ruch, 33, the ex-officer, shot 25-year-old Dennis Plowden after a car chase that ended when Plowden crashed into a light pole on Dec. 27, 2017.


Ruch was in an unmarked police car when he noticed Plowden driving a 2013 Hyundai that he suspected was associated with an unresolved homicide.

“They called the number into police radio to stop a ‘mover,’ which is police slang for any moving vehicle. There’s no information on the police radio before the incident that indicates that anyone knew for sure that this vehicle may have been involved in a homicide,” Assistant District Attorney Vincent Corrigan said. “It’s my understanding since [then], that this is not an avenue of inquiry. The homicide in question is still an open case.”


Ruch turned himself in on Friday, Oct. 9 since being charged with first-degree murder, third-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter and possession of an instrument of crime.

Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner shed light on the incident during the press conference, which was held on Friday as well. He confirmed that Plowden was in a non-threatening position when he was struck by Ruch’s gun.

“According to this presentment, Eric Ruch killed Dennis Plowden while on duty, by firing his gun directly at Plowden’s head as Plowden sat on the ground with his left empty hand raised and clearly visible,” he said before adding further context. “I mention that because the bullet tore through the fingers of that left hand before it entered Plowden’s head,” Krasner added.

Ruch could potentially serve a max sentence of life without parole if the first-degree murder charge holds up. His trial data is scheduled for April 12, 2021 and he is being held without bond.

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