Police Brutality Video Out Of Philadelphia

Cell phone footage was released on Wednesday showing the beating of unarmed 22-year-old Tyree Carroll by Philadelphia Police.

The Philadelphia Police Department (PDP) has opened an internal affairs investigation into the violent arrest, which occurred in early April, only after proof of the beating appeared online.

The video, which has already been viewed over 100,000 times, shows multiple officers repeatedly punching and kicking the African American youth, writes the World Socialist Web Site.  Despite the fact that the filming is taking place roughly a block away from the incident, Carroll can be heard clearly screaming in pain throughout.


Police Get Into Scuffle With Man Holding Daughter

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A father in the Philadelphia area was “busted” by police after he reportedly didn’t pay a subway fare for his young daughter, according to Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) Police.

The altercation between him and police is under scrutiny, writes NBC Philadelphia.

SEPTA Police Chief Thomas Nestel said Ellis Smith didn’t pay the $2.25 payment while entering the westbound tracks of SEPTA’s Market-Frankford El at the Margaret-Orthodox station Thursday afternoon. A cashier notified police which dispatched an officer to investigate.



Philadelphia Museum of Art Will Display ‘200 Years of African American Art’

The Annunciation, (1898), Henry Ossawa Tanner. (Courtesy the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Purchased with the W. P. Wilstach Fund, 1899)

In January, the Philadelphia Museum will open “Represent: 200 Years of African American Art,” a sprawling survey of its holdings of works by black artists. Featuring 75 artworks by over 50 artists, the show’s earliest pieces include silhouettes by Moses Williams that date to 1802, pre-Civil War decorative arts by free and enslaved artists, and potter David Drake’s bible-inscribed storage jar sculpture.

The Wall Street Journal reports states the centerpiece of the exhibition is undoubtedly Henry Ossawa Tanner’s 1898 painting titled The Annunciation. Acquired by the museum in 1899, it was the first piece by an African American artist added to its collection. The show traces black artists through many of the major movements in American art history, from Cubism with Aaron Douglas’s Birds in Flight (1927) to Modernism with works by William Henry Johnson and Elizabeth Catlett.   Both can be seen in the figurative painting of Harlem Renaissance artist Jacob Lawrence.



Awkward: On Same Day As Sydney Shooting, Mass Shooter Kills Six Near Philadelphia

On the same day as the Sydney hostage crisis, there was a mass shooting at Philadelphia where 6 people were killed.

However, the media seemed to give less coverage to the shooting at Philadelphia – even though more people were killed at Philadelphia.

TYT video.

Man Doesn’t Want To Appeal Death Sentence, Asks For Execution

Quadruple murderer Michael Eric Ballard told a Northampton County, Pennsylvania judge that he doesn’t need more tests to prove he’s sane.

In court Friday, he said that he not only wanted to waive his appeals and accept his death sentence, but he also pushed for that execution to be carried out as quickly as possible.

Northampton County Judge Emil Giordano said he wanted Ballard to be evaluated by a psychologist before he gave up on his appeals, but the killer surprised the judge by calling it pointless and an unnecessary delay.

“There’s no question of my sanity,” Ballard told Giordano, who ordered the evaluation nonetheless. “At this point, it just stalls the process even further.”

Judge Emil Giordano said he would like Ballard to have a mental health evaluation and return to court in roughly 45 days.

“I understand the court’s hesitancy to make the determination,” said Ballard, who has had previous evaluations. “The reason I’m opposed to it is that it’s not necessary. There is not a question as to my sanity.”

Giordano told Ballard he worried the defendant was asking him to “short circuit the legal system,” but Ballard said he didn’t see it that way.

“My intent is not to delay this matter,” Giordano said. “However, I am given this very difficult decision to make.”

Friday’s hearing was scheduled at the request of Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli, who wanted Ballard to state his intentions on the record to a judge.

“I think we’re going to find that he’s definitely competent,” said Morganelli.

The last death row inmate executed in Pennsylvania was Gary Heidnik in 1999, in a similar situation.  He also gave up the right to appeal. 


Philadelphia: Police Brutality Against A Fellow Police Officer?

g1npccopp21c_1Many brutality lawsuits are filed against the Philadelphia Police Department every year. But it’s unusual for an officer, a sergeant no less, to make those charges.  But that is what Sgt Brandon Ruff did on Monday.

Ruff says he suffered two sprained wrists and two sprained shoulders after he was roughed up by officers in the 35th precinct.  The suit is being filed in the U.S. District Court in Philadelphia.  Ruff is an eight-year veteran assigned to the 16th precinct.

Ruff drove to the 35th District station in order to turn in a few firearms.

The officer asked who owned the guns. Ruff – who refused to identify the owner — said he was turning them in under a “no-questions-asked” policy and asked to speak to a supervisor, the suit states.

But according to a police spokesman, a “no-questions-asked” policy does not exist outside of periodic gun-amnesty programs.

A supervisor failed to appear, and another officer demanded to see Ruff’s identification. He told her that he didn’t have a state ID on him but had his work ID instead. Ruff asked to make a phone call outside the building. As he walked out, someone shouted, “There he is,” the suit states.

Another officer came up behind Ruff and twisted his right hand behind his back. More than five officers ran to the scene. At that point, Ruff used a code number to identify himself as a fellow officer and said that his ID was in his pocket, according to the suit.

Two of those police officers held Tasers to his chest and rib cage and threatened to activate them.

One of the officers spotted a weapon holstered to Ruff’s hip and demanded, “Why the hell would you come into a police station with a gun on your hip? Where is your permit to carry?” Ruff responded that his police officer ID was his permit to carry, according to the suit.  Ruff was held for six hours and released.


Philadelphia Sends Police Recruits To Washington D.C. For Sensitivity Training

PhiladelphiaPolice1Philadelphia police recruits went to Washington D.C. for training on Aug. 5, 2014.  While they were there, the recruits took a trip to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum to study ethics in policing.

Through the images and history displayed at the museum, the training course aims to leave law enforcement officers with a lasting sense of the importance of the values that drove many of them into policing in the first place.

“They have to understand the very special role that police in a democracy play,” said David Friedman, who helps lead the training, “It’s about preserving and protecting our values, and it all focuses on their relationship to the people they serve. That’s what gives their job meaning, but it’s the essence of what differentiates policing in a constitutional democracy from other countries. . . . Respect of rights for the people.”

To be clear, this is not to suggest that the shooting of an unarmed teenager, Michael Brown, and the heavily armed police response to protests equate to systematic, state-sponsored genocide.

The point was to demonstrate how quickly values can be lost, and that when they are, police can turn from the protectors they are supposed to be into something else.

“The Holocaust is probably the most extreme example of just how horrific and far-reaching the consequences can be when police officers violate their oaths of office and fail to protect the basic right and liberties of citizens,” Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey wrote in a June essay describing the training. “But even small ethical violations on the part of police officers can result in people’s rights being denied, their confidence in the police being eroded and their communities becoming less safe.”

Ramsey first came up with the idea of the Holocaust-related educational program years ago, after visiting the museum when he led the Washington police force. Developed by the museum and the Anti-Defamation League, the training has spread to the FBI, Secret Service, and other federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies.

“Our power and authority come from the people,” Ramsey wrote in the essay for Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and the National Institute of Justice.