Fox 29 Investigates: Brutal Street Fight - FOX 29 News Philadelphia | WTXF-TV

Fox 29 Investigates: Brutal Street Fight


A confrontation this week at the home of an off-duty Philadelphia detective ended with the arrest of a city couple and allegations of police brutality.

As Fox 29's Jeff Cole tells us it all started over a broken car mirror.

A Philadelphia police officer sits in front of Detective James Severa's Parkwood home just days after the off-duty cop arrested 31-year-old Curtis Robinette and his pregnant girlfriend, Alicia Bilinski. The couple were arrested on a host of charges, including, intimidation of a witness and assault.

The arrests followed a confrontation at Severa's home that began, according to police, when Robinette questioned Severa about an arrest warrant issued for allegedly smashing the side-view mirror of Severa's car.

"It's every cop's nightmare," said Capt. John McGuiness, of the department's Northeast Detectives.

McGuiness says Severa, fearing for his safety, answered his door with his service weapon behind his back. McGuiness says words were exchanged and Robinette, who has an extensive criminal record, punched Severa in the head when the cop motioned for him to leave.

"And it's just so unbelievable. It was so frightening," Bilinski said.

Bilinski, 24, who posted bail early Friday morning, says Robinette never hit Severa. She says it was the off-duty cop who did all the hitting.

"Then, all of a sudden, my boyfriend starts walking away, and he runs down to the sidewalk and punches him in his head twice," Bilinski said.

"The officer comes out and punches your boyfriend in the back of his head twice?" Cole asked.

"Yes," Bilinski answered.

Bilinski also says Severa beat Robinette with his service weapon.

"He pulled out his weapon, and he held it to me and my boyfriend's head, and he kept hitting my boyfriend in the back of the head with it," she said.

But that's not the way McGuiness sees it. He says a neighbor saw the whole thing, and Severa never used his gun to strike anyone.

"The next door neighbor says Severa has his weapon out but does not use it to strike," Cole said.

McGuiness answered, "Does not use the weapon to strike the guy, yes, that's what the neighbor says."

"I had no clue what was going on," said Dana Beeco, who lives just a few blocks from Severa's home.

Beeco says she did see the off-duty cop repeatedly strike Robinette.

"So, as I was running back around the corner," Beeco said, "... the off-duty police officer was hitting him in the head with the gun, kicking his legs out or trying to kick his legs out from under him, screaming at him to get on the ground, get on his knees. And Curt kept saying, 'Get away from me, Get away from me.' Didn't strike him, none of that."

"From what you know, you do not believe your detective has done anything wrong?" Cole asked McGuiness.

"There's no evidence there that the detective did anything wrong," McGuiness answered.

The family says there is cell phone video that shows cell phone video that shows the off-duty detective striking Robinette with his service revolver.

McGuiness said he has seen that video, and it does not.

The Robinette family ’ which says their son is turning his life around ’ has filed complaints with police internal affairs.

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