[News] Philadelphia Police beat unarmed Black men

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Thu May 8 10:44:02 EDT 2008

Video of police beating:

May 8, 2008http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/08/us/08philadelphia.html

Police Beating of Suspects Is Taped by TV Station in Philadelphia


PHILADELPHIA ­ About 12 police officers were 
videotaped on Monday beating three men stopped in 
response to a drug-related shooting, and six of 
the officers have been removed from patrols, 
Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey said Wednesday.

In the incident, captured by a Fox TV helicopter, 
officers surrounded a car carrying the three men. 
They were pulled from the car, and two were 
kicked and punched on the ground by officers on 
the driver’s side. The third man was beaten by 
other officers on the passenger side.

(here comes the excuse)

The incident, on Monday night, in the Hunting 
Park section followed the shooting death of Sgt. 
Stephen Liczbinski, 39, a 12-year member of the 
force, on Saturday in the nearby Port Richmond section.

Sergeant Liczbinski was pursuing three robbery 
suspects. The police arrested a man sought in the 
case late Wednesday night, the Associated Press 
reported. Another was arrested on Sunday, and a 
third was fatally shot by an officer shortly 
after the officer’s killing, The A.P. said.

Mr. Ramsey said at a news conference that the 
police were under great “stress and pressure” 
after Sergeant Liczbinski’s death. He is the 
third Philadelphia officer to be killed in the 
line of duty in the last two years.

But, Mr. Ramsey added, there was no excuse for the behavior on the videotape.

The video is being examined to try to identify 
more officers involved in the beatings. Mr. 
Ramsey said he expected more officers to be 
reassigned to administrative duties as a result.

District Attorney Lynne Abraham will decide on 
filing criminal charges against the officers, Mr. Ramsey said.

The new mayor, Michael A. Nutter, has emphasized 
reducing the violence that has given Philadelphia 
one of the highest murder rates in the nation.

Mr. Nutter and Mr. Ramsey are trying to overcome 
decades of distrust between the mostly black 
residents of areas like North Philadelphia and a largely white police force.

The beating victims, all from North Philadelphia, 
have all been charged with assault, conspiracy 
and recklessly endangering another person. D. 
Scott Perrine, a lawyer for the three, called the 
incident a blatant example of police brutality.

“We have not seen stuff like this since the 1960s 
and the 1970s in Philadelphia,” Mr. Perrine said. 
“These officers are criminals, and they should be prosecuted.”

He denied that his clients had any connection 
with the shooting of Sergeant Liczbinski, and he 
said the Police Department was seeking to explain 
the “zealousness” of the officers in the incident 
by saying the force as a whole was distressed and 
exhausted by the sergeant’s death.

The three men are being held on bail, awaiting a preliminary hearing on May 16.

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