[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/05/12/art.sgt.robert.jpg caption="Sgt. Robert Ralston's claim that an assailant shot him sparked a search for a phantom suspect." width=292 height=320]
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His name is Sgt. Robert Ralston. He’s a 21-year veteran of the Philadelphia Police Department, but he’s about to lose his job.
Ralston, who is white, is going to be fired for making up a story about a black man who shot him.
Why he did it is still unclear. But Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey says after hours of interrogation, Sgt. Ralston admitted he fabricated the whole story.
We tried reaching Ralston so he could explain, but were unable to. We tried to talk to Sgt Ralston at his home in Philadelphia but he ducked inside and didn’t answer questions. Numerous phone calls also went unreturned.
Here’s what we know: On April 5th, about 4am, Sgt. Ralston radioed that he’d been shot. He said he had approached two black men in the Overbrook section of town, where the 19th precinct is located. He said one of them ran away, and the other tried to shoot him but he knocked the gun away. It fired anyway, he claimed, grazing his left shoulder. He had a wound to prove it. His fellow officers spent hours searching for the man with the gun based on the sergeant’s description. Even the SWAT teams were fanned out. They never found anyone matching the description.
Now we know why. They were looking for a phantom suspect.
Why would this police veteran, with a wife and five kids, lie about being shot by a black man? Police say he may’ve been looking for attention or a job transfer, but whatever the reason, he’s going to be billed for the massive manhunt the city took part in after Sgt. Ralston was shot.
The police commissioner said this is one of the most “embarrassing” moments in the department’s history. He’s so disappointed in Sgt. Ralston that his badge will be retired for good.
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