THUG LIFE: Cops Gangbang Shooting Suspects

DAILY NEWS: Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey yesterday asked Philadelphians not “to rush to judgment” when watching a video showing baton-wielding cops repeatedly striking, kicking and stomping three young men whom they had stopped after a triple shooting in Hunting Park. “On the surface, it certainly does not look good in terms of the amount of force that was used,” Ramsey said during a news conference with Mayor Nutter at police headquarters. Ramsey said that an Internal Affairs investigation is under way. D. Scott Perrine,police_brutality01.jpg a defense attorney representing the three men, said the commissioner seemed to be making excuses for “barbaric” police behavior. “[Ramsey] implores Philadelphians to take sympathy on behalf of police officers who engaged in behavior that is indicative of guerrilla-warfare tactics that we would see in Iraq before we liberated that country,” Perrine said last night. On Monday night, a Fox 29 news helicopter hovered overhead as police pulled over a car driven by Brian Hall, 23, on 2nd Street near Lippincott in Hunting Park. The video shows officers yanking Hall and two passengers, Dwayne “Lionel” Dyches, 24, and Pete Hopkins, 19, out of the car. More than a dozen officers begin to kick and hit the men as they lay on the ground. An officer grips the leash of a riled-up police dog, which circles copssepia_1.jpgthe suspects, the video shows. The images are reminiscent of two other police beatings caught on TV news video: A 2005 video showing narcotics Officer Michael Collins striking citizen Charles Baum eight times, and a 2000 incident showing 14 city officers beating carjacker Thomas Jones. MORE

UPDATE: One Philadelphia police sergeant and five officers have been removed from street duty after being identified on the scene of the beating of three shooting suspects Monday night, which was caught on video by a news helicopter. Speaking at a news conference this afternoon with Mayor Nutter in front of police headquarters, Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey said other police would likely be identified and removed from street duty after police get an enhanced copy of the video tonight. Ramsey said he would also send a copy of the enhanced video to District Attorney Lynne Abraham for review for the possible filing of criminal charges against the officers. Meanwhile, the three suspects apprehended in Monday night’s incident remain in custody in lieu of substantial bail. They are charged with attempted murder and related crimes in the shooting that wounded three people.

foptweaked.thumbnail.jpgRELATED: John J. McNesby, president of Lodge 5 of the Fraternal Order of Police, said it was unclear how much the suspects had resisted officers. “There’s always two sides to every video,” he said. “Let’s not rush to judgment. Right now we have police under fire in the city of Philadelphia, and we have to be prepared to handle it.” McNesby also said the police believed the suspects were armed and had just been involved in a shooting. “It’s not like these three guys were coming home from church.” MOREhand-stop.thumbnail.jpg

REALITY CHECK: Actually, it is QUITE clear how much the suspects resisted — about as much as the average human skull bone resists when met with a cop’s swinging night stick. Watch the video, dude. Also, not that this makes them angels, but they WERE in fact coming home from church.

MrTcries.gifEDITORIAL: Mayor Nutter, you are gonna have to do a LOT better than ‘the video is what it is.’ People get shot almost every day in this city — cops, crooks and those somewhere in between — and as much as that sucks nobody would argue that fact gives anyone, ESPECIALLY THE COPS, a license to beat the shit out of people. That is called ‘assault and battery’ and last time we checked it was a felony. You will get NOWHERE with ‘No Snitchin’ if you are seen by the citizenry as just an obedient lapdog of the cops and apologist for their worst abuses, and you will get NOWHERE on the murder rate without bridging the ‘No Snitchin’ divide. We are well aware of the daily shitstorm cops have to navigate for not much pay or glory — and that most protect and serve with honor — but they knew the terms when they applied to carry a gun and wear the badge: With great power comes great accountability. This footage iscityhall.jpg sickening to watch and completely unacceptable in this day and age, more befitting the pitiless brutality of a Shia Death squad or the fascist truncheons of banana republic paramilitaries than The Finest of the fifth largest municipality in the United States Of America. These cops should have been fired yesterday. End of story.

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ASSOCIATED PRESS: More than a dozen police officers will be taken off the street as authorities investigate a video showing three suspects being kicked, punched and beaten after they were pulled out of a car during a traffic stop, the mayor’s office said. “At a glance it does appear to be a bit beyond the pale,” said Doug Oliver, a spokesman for Mayor Michael Nutter. “Officers are not allowed to operate outside of the law.” MORE

sweeneycartoon.thumbnail.jpgPHILEBRITY: “Commisioner Charles H. Ramsey, unfathomably, your already awful week just got worse: Responding to FOX29’s helicopter footage of three suspects having the living shit beat out of them on Monday night, he says, “On the surface it certainly does not look good in terms of the amount of force that was used. But we don’t want to rush to judgment.” Too late, judgement already rushed: THE COPS ARE FREAKED OUT right now and it’s your job to fix it, bub: Hook these guys up with some services and figure out STAT who can and can’t be out on the street. Your force and your city depends on it.” MORE


deeneythumbnail.jpgDEENEY: Cops don’t want social services. There was an interesting thread on Domelights recently about a cop who committed suicide that had a very telling response, it’s worth digging up. For the most part cops think you should just shut up about your emotional problems, don’t whine, keep your chin up, stay strong, etc. Ramsey’s a brand new outsider who’s already made some controversial decisions. By ordering officers into counseling, therapy, group discussion, whatever, would make himself the laughing stock of the force and erode what little capital he’s built up with street level officers. Besides, the scale of such an undertaking, providing adequate counseling services to such a large number of people on the fly would be a nightmare; the city couldn’t effectively mobilize an effort like that in six months let alone six days.

I think it’s terribly unfortunate that law enforcement tends to winnow away what little support they get in the neighborhoods after an incident like last week so quickly. The perspective from inside the nine districts is thatclockwork3.gif the police were already overreacting in the wake of Cassidy’s death; use of lethal force is WAY up and this in tandem with the roll out of stop and frisk has already had the neighborhoods on edge. But, on the other hand, cops feel they have the right to go home alive at the end of the day and are getting fed up with how casually criminals are starting to point guns in their direction. The elevated level of deadly force use isn’t going to reverse, if anything it’s going to climb and Philadelphia’s law enforcement officers by and large will have absolutely no moral qualms with this. The law enforcement perspective is that we’re not out there to be friends with criminals, we’re out there to keep order, and we’re going to do that by any means necessary.

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PREVIOUSLY: Anonymous Tipster Brings FBI Into Puerto Rican Party Beatdown Investigation

police_brutality01.jpgThe FBI’s Civil Rights Office is looking into the alleged beating of at least 20 people inside a Puerto Rican social club last month by Philadelphia police officers responding to a disturbance call, officials indicated yesterday. Local authorities opened an internal investigation last week into the incident at the Aces Borincaños Dance Club in Kensington, but Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey said yesterday that the FBI was also on the case. “We’re still at it,” said Ramsey. “I know the FBI has come in, and they’re going to look over it as well. We got it out there because it’s a very serious case with very serious allegations. We’re going to try to get it done as fast as we can to let the public know what’s going on.” Ramsey, who called the case “troubling,” said that he did not ask the FBI to intervene, but that he welcomed the help in the department’s first major internal investigation of alleged officer misconduct on his watch. He said the FBI apparently was alerted with a phone call. The Jan. 26 incident began when a fight broke out about 11:30 p.m. inside the club at 2120 N. Front St., where a girl’s 15th birthday was being celebrated by her family. According to police, the scuffle spilled outside, and police were flagged down. Officers called for backup when they could not control the crowd. Police attempted to get the crowd back into the club, and it was inside that the alleged assaults with police batons occurred. At least 50 officers may have been at the scene, authorities said. A set of photographs corroborated the injuries, and cell phone video may exist, police said. [via INQUIRER]

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