Philadelphia has a long history of police misconduct.
In 1979, it became the first U.S. city to be sued by the Department of Justice for condoning “widespread and severe” wrongdoing after the severe beating of the unarmed Delbert Africa in 1979. In 1985, Philadelphia police dropped a C4 bomb on the MOVE house, killing eleven people, including five children. The legacy of rampant police misconduct has continued to this day.
It is no surprise, then, to see two officers, apparently unaware that a cell phone was recording, abusing two African Americans as they walked down the street. Officer Philip Nace and another officer from the 25th District stopped two unidentified men after one of them offered a complete stranger…a GREETING!
“You don’t say ‘hi’ to strangers,” Nace told one of the men. His partner added, “Not in this neighborhood.”
Apparently, it’s illegal in Philadelphia to greet someone on the street.
The video continues, with the officers berating, accusing, threatening with violence, and generally being horrible to their unfortunate victims. The officers claim, seemingly falsely, that they saw the two men jaywalking. They also admit, that while they did not, they could have gotten a call about men matching their descriptions.
At one point, Nace picked up the cell phone and began to harass the man videoing about his intent to record–somehow realizing intent…but NOT that the phone was recording.
Nace: “What were you getting ready to do? Tape somebody with it?…Why were you holding your phone like this. I’m 46 years old. you think I don’t know what the hell you were doing?”
Victim 2: “Recording. Is that illegal?”
Nace: “No, but it’s not illegal for me to grab you, either.”
Victim 2: “Well, yes it is. It’s like you’re harassing me. I didn’t do nothin.”
Nace: “How do you know…How do you know what we know?”
Nace: “You asked me why I stopped you, I said how do you know we didn’t get a radio call? You’re looking at it from where you are, but you’re not looking at it from where we are. You don’t know what we know or what we got information on, right? Right? What you don’t hear now?”
Victim 2: “You accusing me of robbing someone?”
Nace: “I didn’t accuse you of anything, can you hear? I said we could have got a call that somebody wearing the clothes that you’re wearing just robbed someone, that’s why we stopped you, so is that wrong of us?”
The person recording the incident was told he was “under investigation,” and that he is “gonna be in violation if [he] keep running [his] mouth when [Nace] splits [his] wig open.”
Officer Nace and his partner make it very clear that these individuals are not wanted in Philadelphia:
Nace: “Well then don’t come to f**king Philadelphia, stay in Jersey.”
Victim 2: “I have family out here.”
Officer 2: “Yeah well then don’t come over here, we don’t want you here anyway, all you do is weaken the f**king country.”
Victim 2: “Yeah? I weaken the country? How I weaken the country? By working?”
Officer 2: “No, freeloading.”
The man informs him that he works as a server at a country club, to which the racist arsehole replies, “Serving weed?” The officers also discuss arresting them men for no better reason than a dislike of their unfortunate prey (“You should take that one just for his friggin’ big mouth!). After 16 minutes of inexcusable, abhorrent treatment, the officers back off.
Internal affairs is investigating the incident.
Stop and Frisk is problematic in Philadelphia. While claims are made that it is an effective tool in police work, it is important to note that the reality is closer to what you can witness for yourself, here. According to Ezekiel Edwards, head of the national ACLU’s criminal law reform project, in 2012, almost half of frisks occurred without reasonable suspicion. Over 3/4 of all stops were minorities, and a staggering 85% of all frisks were minorities.
In predominantly African American areas, most marijuana possession arrests were young African American men. In predominantly white areas, most marijuana possession arrests were…young African American men. In the first two quarters of 2012, there were 1,852 stops. Contraband of any kind was found in only 29 of the stops–that’s just over a 1.5% effective rate! Guns were found in 3, or just over one fifteenth of a percent, of the stops.
At best, Stop and Frisk is a practice that offers the appearance of security, whilst providing little or none. At worst, it is a systematic repression of the black and latino communities. Either way, it can not be allowed to continue.