Suspect in murder of police inspector's son says he was 'beaten with assault rifles' during arrest

Steve Tawa
April 24, 2019 - 3:13 pm
Tyquan Athinson

Philadelphia Police Department

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — While Philadelphia police and U.S. Marshals say the arrest of the suspect in the murder of the son of a police commander was uneventful, the defense contends his client was "beaten with assault rifles." His comments came outside the Criminal Justice Center after the preliminary hearing was delayed.

"Accusations never excuse brutality," said defense lawyer Evan Hughes, who represents 19-year-old Tyquan Atkinson who was captured in Chester, Delaware County three days after the shooting of 20-year-old Nicholas Flacco. 

Hughes contends Atkinson suffered "cracked ribs" that encounter with law enforcement. Atkinson ran out a back door, and was tracked to a nearby rooftop. 

"Somehow he has cracked ribs," Hughes said.

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When asked if Atkinson was resisting arrest, Hughes said, "It looked more like a military operation, as opposed to a police operation. My client ran because he had assault rifles trained on him, and thought he was going to be shot." 

Atkinson was caught by members of the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force, which says it handed him over to Philadelphia police at the scene. The Supervisory Deputy U.S. Marshal, Robert Clark, says after a brief pursuit, the Marshals "arrested him without further incident." 

Philadelphia police say the department was "unaware of even an allegation of excessive force during the arrest of Mr. Atkinson."

Police say Flacco was killed in a random encounter as he intervened in a dispute between two groups of teens and young adults yelling at each other. Investigators believe that Flacco may have tried to break up a fight, and was not involved in any arguments before the shooting.