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Philly Voice turns to Associate Dean Dan Filler on Councilman Use of Force Bank Robbery Case

Professor Daniel Filler

July 10, 2015

In a July 9 article, Philly Voice turned to Associate Dean Dan Filler for his perspective on Hatboro councilman George Forgeng's pursuit and shooting of an alleged bank robber on July 8.

According to Philly Voice, Forgeng gave chase to alleged bank robber Kevin Phillip-Johnson Way as he fled a TD Bank branch at York Road and West Lehman Avenue in Hatboro.  Way eventually stopped and turned towards Forgeng at which point Forgeng, who is allegedly licensed to carry a concealed weapon, shot Way. Way is in stable condition.  

Filler, who is a former public defender questioned whether Forgeng's actions were justified. "You just can't shoot someone," Filler said. "What kind of risk was he facing?" Regardless, Filler claimed, if Forgeng were charged for inappropriate use of force, a jury might be sympathetic his circumstances.  "Even if [Forgeng] is charged, I suspect a jury would be slow to convict a person under these circumstances," Filler said. "Shooting at someone is deadly force, but in this case, the argument will be that he believes that such force is necessary to protect himself," Filler claimed. 

Depending on how a case like this is presented, Forgeng could even come out looking like a hero, as juries typically do not condemn such actions if the shooting was not fatal, Filler said. "There are so many people ... who will say 'Give the guy a medal,'" Filler concluded.