An on-duty Philadelphia police officer punched his wife and then chased her down in a patrol car with the lights and siren activated, causing her car to crash into another vehicle early Tuesday in West Philadelphia, police said Thursday.
Officer Antonio Mayhew, 30, a 10-year veteran of the department assigned to the First District in South Philadelphia, faces at least 12 charges including aggravated assault, terroristic threats, misapplication of entrusted property, and official oppression.
"It is probably one of the most irresponsible and outlandish things I've heard of from a police officer in a long time," Commissioner Richard Ross said.
Mayhew has been suspended from the department for 30 days with the intent to dismiss, police said.
It's not the first time Mayhew has faced discipline as a police officer. In 2013, a person other than his wife filed a protection-from-abuse order against him, said Capt. Sekou Kinebrew, a police spokesman. Mayhew was suspended for 20 days but did not face criminal charges, Kinebrew said. Police declined to detail that incident or the victim's relationship to Mayhew.
In this week's case, around 1:45 a.m. while on duty in a marked police car, Mayhew left his assignment in South Philadelphia and went to the 5200 block of Market Street in West Philadelphia, where he punched his wife in the head while she sat in the driver's seat of her car, police said.
Following the alleged assault, Mayhew's wife drove away and he pursued her with his lights and siren on, authorities said.
During the chase, Mayhew's wife's car struck another car at 61st and Walnut Streets, injuring the driver, who was hospitalized and released. A police spokesman said Mayhew's wife sustained injuries but did not require treatment.
Ross said Mayhew stopped at the crash site and told the injured driver he would return to help, but did not. He said Mayhew subsequently returned to his assignment to finish his shift.
Ross said police learned of Mayhew's alleged conduct only after a witness reported it. Officers investigated, and Ross said they found surveillance video showing the alleged assault and chase.
"You leave your area of responsibility — which is obviously gross negligence in and of itself — and then you go and assault an individual, and then you abuse your police power," Ross said. "It is absolutely reprehensible."