Philly Cop by Nina Golgowski
In just the last week alone, the Philadelphia Police Department (PPD) may have done more damage to its own reputation among the city's residents than even the most convincing critic of centralized government authority could have managed. A series of scandals that have been showcased in recent local and national news has significantly tarnished the respectability of the PPD and its personnel, and rightly so. As a result, both faithful supporters of law enforcement efforts, as well as those who are instinctively wary of the police, are questioning whether or not the agency is working on behalf of the general public's interests, altogether. Given the seedy nature and insidious details of the stories of police corruption that surface every day from cities everywhere, who could blame anyone for distrusting the intentions of law enforcement officers? In the city of Philadelphia, where I live, it has become almost impossible for conscientious individuals (especially members of minorities) not to, and here are some examples of why:
When a video of officer Philip Nace (pictured above) and his patrol partner unexpectedly went viral on YouTube, their abusive interactions with two innocent African-American pedestrians suddenly fixated the eyes of thousands of online viewers upon Philadelphia and its burgeoning police state. The video's footage, which depicts the officers verbally and physically assaulting the two young men without any justifiable cause for suspicion, demonstrated the unjust persecution that has unfortunately become commonplace in cities such as Philadelphia and New York, where the tyrannical and racially-driven "stop-and-frisk" policy has become a legally accepted standard of police conduct. Despite causing quite a stir in the day or two following its initial debut, it seemed somewhat unlikely at first that the video would ultimately have an impact of any measurable significance: police brutality videos are almost a dime a dozen nowadays, and often result in few consequences for the officers involved, regardless of the number of views that they manage to generate. It came as something of surprise, however, when l ess than a month later, a second incriminating video of Nace and his partner surfaced on YouTube, filmed committing an outright display of what can only be described as, "bullying," for a second time, and again without any apparent provocation. This time, the footage portrays the overtly hostile officer Nace aggressively tipping over a local resident's basketball hoop seemingly at random, destroying the $450 piece of equipment in the process. The two officers then proceed to climb back into their police van, at which point Nace can be witnessed venomously calling out, "Have a good day!" as the two drive off, followed by a spitefully bellowed, "Jesus loves you!" which spews from his partner's gullet in a manner that could invoke only contempt for the two thugs on the part of any dignified viewer. Upsetting, though it is to watch, the video manages to show the officers masterfully defaming themselves in a manner that is purely reliant upon such a candidly grotesque display of their own unpleasantness: the brutishness of the two graceless bloats conveys volumes on its own, never requiring anyone other than the policemen themselves to demonstrate their own repulsive cruelty. The ugliness of their misdeeds simply speaks for itself.
The young man who had shot the footage (who chose to remain anonymous out of fear of retaliation from Nace) has revealed to the press that he is no stranger to Nace's abusive tendencies, and even went as far as to remark:
"He comes out here and harasses people all the time"Nace is a bully."
Fortunately, the shocking content of the two videos resulted in the suspension of both Nace and his partner, and has since sparked an investigation into the conduct of the officers during their time spent on duty as policemen. However, this is only the beginning: the recent smattering of shameful and angering instances of misconduct by Philadelphia police officers hardly ends there.
When India Torres returned home to the residence she shares with her family in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia, only to find that intruders had broken in and robbed it, she naturally didn't hesitate before calling the police. Regular readers of this website may find the Kensington region familiar, as the area's ongoing saga of the tyrannical abuse of its residents by corrupt politicians using eminent domain laws to seize rightfully-owned property was recently the subject of another Stateless Statements article, the link to which can be found here. Despite the painfully slow creep towards gentrification that is ever-so gradually progressing within the neighborhood, the area is infamous for being one of heavy drug trafficking (among countless other illegal activities). As a result, Torres' surprise came about not because of the break-in itself, but from the shocking discovery that there was enough evidence to strongly indicate that the burglary had been committed by five police officers who had been working as part of the city's 24th District Narcotics Enforcement Team.
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