A group of law enforcement officers dressed in camouflage and tactical gear while holding rifles posed for a photo with Danelo Cavalcante moments after the escaped killer was captured in Chester County.
Most of the people in the photo op stared ahead. Cavalcante — his hands bound behind his back — seems less focused on the camera. Some blood appears on Cavalcante’s face as he wears a dirtied Philadelphia Eagles hoodie.
It wasn’t immediately clear what law enforcement agency or agencies were involved in Wednesday morning’s impromptu photo op.
Policies for taking photos with captured suspects vary.
The U.S. Marshals Service implicitly states that posing for capture photos with a suspect is a no-no:
“U.S. Marshals employees will not pose prisoners for pictures (except as necessary for identification purposes at district offices or detention facilities) or in any way subject prisoners to embarrassment,” the federal agency says on its website.
However, Pennsylvania State Police seemed to be OK with Cavalcante being posed for a photo.
“Those men and women worked amazingly hard, through some very trying circumstances, they are proud of their work,” Pennsylvania State Police Lt. Col. Bivens said after being asked about the photo op during a Wednesday morning news conference. “I’m not bothered at all by the fact that they took a photograph of him in custody.”
“They kept the community safe,” Bivens — the public spokesperson for state police during the manhunt — said. “I say thanks to them and good job.”
The arrest also drew praise from some politicians who shared the photo on social media, including former Republican Congresswoman Mayra Flores of Texas.
Cavalcante was captured on Sept. 14, 2023 — two weeks after he climbed out of Chester County prison on Aug. 31.
Cavalcante’s heat signal was picked up around 1 a.m. from an aircraft, but storms prevented teams from continuing to track him until the morning, Bivens said. In the meantime, tactical teams secured the area, and later moved in with search dogs, Bivens said at a news conference.
“The were able to move in very quietly. They had the element of surprise,” Bivens said. “Cavalcante did not realize he was surrounded until that had occurred.”
Cavalcante — still armed with a stolen rifle — tried to escape by crawling through thick underbrush, Bivens said, and he continued to resist as he was taken into custody after 8 a.m. He was bitten on the scalp by a police dog and suffered a minor wound, he said. No shots were fired.
“He was desperate, and it was just a matter of time,” said Gov. Josh Shapiro said.