Nearly a month after the acquittal of three young men beaten by Philadelphia police, their aggressors meet the same fate. Eight disgraced members of Philadelphia’s finest were found not guilty, via the opinion of a grand jury, in a racially charged trial that questioned whether the men used excessive force to subdue three young men wrongfully accused of murdering a police officer in May of 2008.
Following a 14-month investigation, the grand jury concluded that the officers, all white, used proper judgment and followed all rules and protocols in apprehending the men. Law enforcement considered the men armed and dangerous, making sure to apply the force they deemed necessary to secure their arrest. Department policy forbids officers from beating or kicking perpetrators once handcuffed, and in sticking with that code, the eight officers in question did not.
“We found that the design of the force applied by the police was helpful rather than hurtful; the kicks and blows, in other words, were aimed not to inflict injury but to facilitate quick and safe arrests,” said the grand jury in their written statement to the court.
In spite of the court’s decision and fierce opposition from the police union, Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey has remained steadfast in the choices he made in response to the melee. Citing that the incident gave the department a “black eye,” Commissioner Ramsey fired four of the officers involved in the fray, choosing to “discipline” the others.
Speaking at a news conference, Commissioner Ramsey even went as far as calling some of the actions used by the officers while attempting to make the arrest “indiscriminate” and “excessive.” “In my opinion, all the actions were not justified,” he said.
Aerial footage of the incident shows a throng of police officers descend upon a vehicle after a 2 1/2 mile chase, breaking the windows, and forcefully removing three Black men from within. The officers kicked and beat them for several minutes, with one drawing his nightstick to inflict even greater damage.
The majority of the people on sitting on the grand jury were Black.
Click here for previous coverage of this travesty of justice.