Cop accused of fighting a kid

Daily News Staff Writerfarrs@phillynews.com, 215-854-4225

A Philadelphia cop who allegedly pushed her own children to fight other kids - and who, on at least one occasion, allegedly jumped in a fight to punch a 14-year-old girl - was arrested yesterday on numerous assault and child endangerment charges, according to the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office.

Officer Tamika Gross' propensity for fighting has twice been detailed by the Daily News, once in 2009 when she got into a street fight with another woman while she was on duty and once in 2013, when she allegedly brought her 16-year-old suspended daughter back to Lincoln High School to fight a 14-year-old girl over a boy.

In the latter instance, which prosecutors said was caught on cell phone video, Gross is accused of jumping into the fight when her daughter started losing and punching her daughter's rival in the eye - twice.

Tashiana Haggins-Montgomery, the mother of the 14-year-old victim in the Lincoln High case, was overwhelmed with the news of Gross' arrest. She said she's called the District Attorney's Office every week since the incident happened to check up on the case.

"I honestly thought it was going to be slipped under the rug," she said. "She's been getting away with it so long it was almost like it was the norm for her."

According to District Attorney spokeswoman Tasha Jamerson, Gross has been charged with 11 counts in three separate cases dating back to 2012. In the first instance, on Jan. 25, 2012, Gross allegedly demanded her 18-year-old son fight a 16-year-old boy, an encounter which led to a street brawl, according to prosecutors.

In the second case, in March of 2012, Gross is accused of bringing her daughter to fight two sisters, ages 13 and 17, Jamerson said. During the incident, Gross was allegedly heard screaming that nobody would get arrested because she was an off-duty police officer.

The final case Gross is charged with is the Lincoln High School case on Oct. 23, 2013, involving Haggins-Montgomery's daughter.

In total, Gross, 35, is facing two counts of simple assault, four counts of recklessly endangering another person, four counts of corruption of minors and one count of endangering the welfare of a child, Jamerson said.

"I'm happy that it won't happen to another child, even if she doesn't do jail time at least they're watching her," Haggins-Montgomery said. "My child was not the first, she might not have even been the third."

Internal Affairs documents that were obtained by the Daily News showed that Gross had a history of getting into fights that was documented by the department.

"Police documentation reveals P/O Gross was in fact present on more than one occasion when groups of juveniles gathered for the purpose of provoking fights with each other," one investigator wrote in a 2012 report.

A spokeswoman for the department's public affairs unit said Gross has been suspended with the intent to dismiss.

When Gross first made the pages of the Daily News in 2009 for brawling with a woman in West Philly while she was on duty, the woman she fought, Lateefah Savage, was charged with assault on a police officer. Savage eventually pleaded guilty to simple assault in the case and received four years' probation.

However, the ramifications for Gross were far less severe. She was placed on desk duty and was disciplined by the department, but a spokeswoman declined to release the nature of that discipline. What is clear is that Gross spent another five years as a police officer before her arrest yesterday.

In July 2013, Gross filed a federal complaint against the city and one of her police supervisors, claiming sexual harassment and a hostile work environment. That case remains open.

 


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