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Cop who sat next to first lady during speech charged with rape

PHILADELPHIA, May 19 (UPI) — Philadelphia police said a retired officer who sat next to first lady Michelle Obama during the 2009 State of the Union address has been charged with rape.

Richard DeCoatsworth is accused of taking two women from a party to an undisclosed location Thursday and pulling a gun on them, the Philadelphia Police Department said in a statement. The former police officer allegedly forced the women “to engage in the use of narcotics and to engage in sexual acts,” the statement said.

He was charged Saturday with rape, CNN reported Sunday.

DeCoatsworth was invited to sit next to the first lady during President Barack Obama’s 2009 speech to Congress, in recognition of his actions during a 2007 confrontation with four assailants, one of whom shot him in the face. A rookie on the police force, DeCoatsworth followed a group of three men in a car and then on foot.

As he followed, a fourth man got out of the car and shot the officer in the face, momentarily blinding him, a statement from the White House before the 2009 speech said.

“But when his vision returned, he was still standing. Bleeding from the face, DeCoatsworth chased the perpetrator on foot for nearly two blocks. The officer returned fire and put out flash information on the subject during the pursuit, before he finally collapsed,” the statement said.

DeCoatsworth retired from the force in 2011 after he was accused of using excessive force when he shot a motorcyclist in the leg, CNN reported.

A neighbor has taken DeCoatsworth to court, alleging the former police officer threatened him.

Copyright 2013 United Press International, Inc. (UPI).

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