A courtroom exploded with excitement as three men that were beaten by Philadelphia police in relation to a triple shooting in May 2008 have all been acquitted of charges.
Brian Hall, 24, Dwayne Dyches, 26, and Pete Hopkins Jr., 20 were victims to a violent arrest by police as they were in pursuit of a cop killer.
Authorities were under the belief that Hopkins, Dyches, and Hall drove to 4th and Annsbury streets late in the night of May 5. From there, Hopkins allegedly opened fire on four men and injuring three as the other two only witnessed the act.
The men then allegedly fled the scene in their tan Grand Marquis and led a 2.5 mile chase with police before they were stopped.
Jurors witnessed a 10-minute news videotape that captured the 18 police officers that were either part of the violent arrest or were just on the scene. Through the footage the police were shown dragging the suspects from their vehicle, along with beating and kicking the men prior to the actual arrest.
As a result of the officers abrasive actions, four of them were fired and eight others were either disciplined or demoted due to the highly publicized beating which had been described by Mayor Michael Nutter as 67 seconds of chaos on the streets of Philadelphia.
Factors that led to the men being acquitted were the statements made by some of the officers. While speaking with reporters after the verdict, four jurors said that statements that were made by a narcotics police officer, who was the key witness for prosecution, were inconsistent. The officer, Carlos Buitrago, was attacked by Hopkins’ attorney as she stated that he did not actually see the shooter as he was hiding in an unmarked car.
After playing a radio call that Buitrago made after the shooting incident, the officer stated that two males “were probably shooting” which left holes and conflicted with other statements that he had made.
The defense also took the stance that the police tried to use the three men as a scapegoat and placed the shooting incident on them in order to validate their brutal actions.
Although the footage may have been the spark to decide the case in favor of the three accused, some jurors stated that the footage captured by the Fox 29 news helicopter was not influential in their decision.
Hopkins and Dyches had spent over a year in jail as they waited for their trial to take place, but were expected to be released later after the verdict was made Wednesday.
Hall, however, was the only defendant that was free on bail, and upon hearing the verdict, stormed out the courtroom in excitement.
Relatives of Dyches’ have demanded that an apology be made from city officials and have stated their fears of retaliation from other police officers.
Here’s the video of the brutal beat down: