By Mensah M. Dean
The Philadelphia Daily News
Related: Officer shot during Philly holdup dies
PHILADELPHIA — David Watson is an African-American man with a stocky build. His left hand is adorned with a black spider tattoo. He has a bum leg.
Those characteristics — which the still-at-large cop killer also shares — yesterday led to a pretty rough day for Watson.
While Philadelphia police questioned dozens of black men in connection with the murder of Officer Chuck Cassidy, cops got up-close-and-personal with Watson twice - first at his North Philly home, where he was taken into custody, then again shortly after he was cleared and released.
"They're doing their job, but man it's crazy out here," said an exasperated Watson, 34, moments after a swarm of cops left him alone near the corner of Broad and Vine streets in Center City.
Watson first encountered police inside his home shortly after 9 a.m.
His mother was sweeping up in front of the home they share, on Franklin Street near Hunting Park Avenue, when about 10 cops burst through the door and awoke him at gunpoint, he said.
"They had their guns in my face, and they pushed me against the wall. They was saying, 'You know what you did, you know what you did,' " Watson said.
He was taken to Police Headquarters, where he spent several hours. Watson said he believes witnesses were brought in to try to identify him before police determined he was not involved and let him go.
Shortly after 3 p.m., he walked to Broad and Vine, where officers emerged from at least seven marked and unmarked cars and surrounded him as he waited for a bus to take him back home.
"It's rough out here," said Watson, who is on disability because of a leg injury. He said he was scared during his first encounter with the law, but not so much during the second.
"Like they said, stay in the house. I ain't coming back outside," he said, managing a soft laugh.
A homicide detective confirmed that Watson had been questioned twice. "He fit the description of a cop- killer, so you have to be careful," said the detective, who declined to give his name during a phone interview.
Asked if police were remorseful for having twice stopped Watson, the detective said, "No. I hope he gets stopped three or four more times."
He said, "Everybody is looking for someone with that build and that tatoo. It's kind of unique to have that same tattoo."
Police efforts to catch the cop-killer have created some tension among black men who said they were questioned and detained although they do not fit the physical description of the gunman or have tattoos.
"The cops are rounding up any black male that fits the [general] description," said an agitated 18-year-old, who declined to give his name, as he walked down Ogontz Avenue.
"They took me downtown [to Police Headquarters] and kept me there for 3 1/2 hours," said the slender teen who has no tattoos. "The community probably feels bad for the officer, but cops kill us all the time."
Copyright 2007 The Philadelphia Daily News
Phila. police leaving no stone unturned in finding cop killer