Darrell Holloway is legally blind, has been since he was shot about four years ago.
But what can he see?
Enough, say Philadelphia police, for the 22-year-old West Philadelphia man to swing at an officer, put him in a headlock and scratch his face.
Nonsense, says defense attorney Kevin V. Mincey: “Anyone can see he needs help just to get around.”
The answer will have to wait until Holloway’s case gets to trial, his next stop after Tuesday’s preliminary hearing where Philadelphia Municipal Court Judge Dawn Segal ordered him held for trial on charges resulting from an Aug. 19 melee at 47th and Walnut Streets.
Police officer Anthony Lazzaro, the only witness called by Assistant District Attorney Frank Udinson, testified about the chaos that erupted shortly before 10 p.m. on Aug. 19 when he and his partner stopped Holloway and two others on suspicion of drug dealing.
Though no drugs were found, Lazzaro testified that events spun out of control when he grabbed the back of Holloway’s waistband “to keep him from running away.”
Holloway spun around, swung and missed, Lazzaro testified, and he pushed the suspect against a car. Both then began grappling and hitting each other as 10 other officers tried to intervene and keep a growing crowd at bay. At one point, Lazzaro said, Holloway had him in a headlock, scratched his face near his eyes and was choking him.
In questioning Lazzaro, Mincey asked if he heard spectators yelling that Holloway was blind and for officers to stop hitting him.
“I didn’t know if he was blind,” said Lazzaro, adding that “people were screaming a lot of things. They were also hitting me too.”
Lazzaro also maintained that after officers pulled Holloway off him, the suspect broke free and rushed about 10 feet “directly at me.”
Segal, however, did not let Mincey’s questioning go into challenging Lazzaro’s credibility or the extent of Holloway’s disability.
Regardless of Holloway’s visual problems, Udinson argued, police had aurally identified themselves and ordered Holloway and his companions to stop and take their hands out of their pockets.
Segal mused aloud about the vision question though she added that the answer was for trial – not a preliminary hearing where the judge only decides if there is enough evidence to show a crime probably happened and that the case should go to trial.
Segal dismissed a count of reckless endangerment filed against Holloway but held him for trial on aggravated and simple assault, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct.