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Rodney King-like Police Beating Caught On Tape In Philadelphia, Prompts Internal Investigation

Tyree Carroll with his niece, Izaree White. (Courtesy photo)
Tyree Carroll with his niece, Izaree White. (Courtesy photo)

Philadelphia is the latest city to be hit by a scandal involving police misconduct caught on video. Several news outlets are reporting up to 12 local officers were captured punching and kicking Tyree Carroll, a 22-year-old Black cyclist.

According to NBC News, cops stopped Carroll for riding the wrong way and later assaulted him.

“The Philadelphia Police Department announced an internal investigation Wednesday after a cellphone video surfaced of a man being surrounded and repeatedly beaten by a swarm of police officers — as he screamed for his grandmother’s help,” reported NBC News. “The video, which just surfaced this week, shows 22-year-old Tyree Carroll being punched and kicked — and possibly tased — repeatedly while he is lying on the ground during the April 3, 2015 incident.”

Philadelphia police officers also shouted slurs as they assaulted Carroll calling him a “piece of s**t” and a “motherf**cker.”

The attack, which was caught on video by bystanders, captured Carroll screaming for help. Carroll’s grandmother said she couldn’t watch the tape.

“I couldn’t bear to look at it,” she said. “I just shut my mind and looked away.”

Officers later claimed they had to physically restrain Carroll because he had bitten one of them. Carroll said he bit the officer because they placed him in a chokehold and he couldn’t breathe.

In spite of the videotaped evidence, the local police union called it “good policing.”

“I did view the video, and it shows that policing in Philly isn’t pretty. He’s fighting. He’s waving his arms. He’s biting the police officer at least twice. This is good policing. Their sole job in that moment was to police narcotics. You’re allowed to use force at times,” said union president John McNesby in an interview with Newsweek. “Unfortunately, these guys were bit. You’re allowed to use force to effect an arrest. They took narcotics off the street and took the man off the street.”

Police found a small amount of crack cocaine on Carroll and later charged him with a string of crimes including assault, reckless endangerment, resisting arrest and possession of a controlled substance. Carroll’s family says he is currently being detained for violating probation.

Jasmyne Cannick, a Los Angeles-based blogger and media specialist, was the first to publish the video. Cannick reported Carroll is still suffering from injuries from the beating and his family is worried about his condition.

“A member of the Pennsylvania Prison Society was able to visit Tyree Carroll in jail today,” said Cannick  on her website. “I’m told that Tyree is in a lot of pain and is still dealing with his injuries from the April 3 incident. He told the Pennsylvania Prison Society that on the night of the incident, although he was taken to the hospital he wasn’t treated for his injuries. His family is concerned that Tyree, who is asthmatic, is not being treated for his asthma either.”

Cannick, who has been a frequent critic of misconduct in the Los Angeles Police Department, compared the Carroll incident to the infamous Rodney King beating. She also said the Philadelphia Police Department showed a profound lack of respect arresting Carroll.

“You can’t justify calling someone a ‘piece of s**t’ while you’re beating them,” Cannick told The Huffington Post. “It doesn’t matter if he had all the crack in the world. It doesn’t warrant that response.”

According to Cannick, the beating took place in April, but the video just came to light after it was sent to her by Carroll’s family. Carroll has been in jail since April and is scheduled to appear in court on July 21, according to The Huffington Post.

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