Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey has announced that following the May 5 beating of three suspects in a drug-related triple shooting, four police officers will be fired. The beating was caught on tape by a news helicopter and shows 15 officers descending upon the car. Two of the four being fired were new recruits on probation; the other two, more experienced.
The most senior officer present has been demoted to the rank of police officer and transferred to another district for failing to stop the beating, though the tape shows he had no contact with the suspects. Three other officers were suspended for up to 15 days and and have been transferred to other districts. To see why the beating happened, the response, and the tape,
At the time of the incident, emotions were running high as a fellow officer had been killed two days earlier during a robbery. The men from the car are in custody on attempted murder, assault and firearms charges. The mayor of Philadelphia, Michael Nutter, has said he was satisfied by the department’s response to the beating.
However one of the lawyers for the men in the car says, “The only reason these people are not in handcuffs is because they are police officers. They behaved like a pack of wild animals.” Adding to this, the chairwoman of the National Action Network (led by Al Sharpton) said “The position of the citizens of Philadelphia is that the response by Ramsey and Nutter was not enough. We want all the officers prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
Is the response enough? Too severe? Did the known danger following the murder of the officer two days prior, inform their response — or send it out of control? Should the officers be treated like civilians, or are cases involving cops inherently different given the situations they face? Since the men in the car are being held on very serious offenses, did they earn severe treatment?