Who Polices Our Police Departments?

What happens to an excessively drunk man who had a blood-alcohol level more than four times the legal driving limit and was looking for a fight? Well since he was in Philadelphia, he found that fight was physically assaulted, had his head smacked into the concrete floor, tossed into a metal garbage can and then beaten up some more — and all of that by two uniformed Philadelphia Police Officers.

According to the report:

Police charged Foley with harassment, reckless endangerment, disorderly conduct, failure to disperse and resisting arrest; in August 2009, a judge acquitted him of those charges. Foley filed a complaint with the Philadelphia Police Department’s Internal Affairs Division (IAD). In November 2009, IAD sustained one charge against Corcoran for not filing a Use of Force Report. But IAD decided that Foley’s charges against Corcoran could not be proven.

In January 2009, just three months after Foley’s arrest in Old City, Corcoran punched a wheelchair-bound man in the face while on patrol in Grays Ferry. That man, too, ended up in the hospital. In that case, IAD found Corcoran’s use of force justified.

In this case, you have one side that clearly would have a motive to alter the truth of what possibly could have happened that night and then you have two other parties (the two witnesses and unrelated to the victim) who have absolutely no reason to do so.

There are three ways to think about what happened in Old City that Halloween evening: The first is that the cops’ version of events is accurate, and LeeAnne Mullins and I — who know neither each other nor Foley — either lied about or misinterpreted what we saw. The second is that it’s an aberration, which just so happened to occur outside this newspaper’s office and, consequently, drew the paper’s attention — to put it another way, perhaps it was blown out of proportion. The third is more troubling: What if this case was unique only in that it took place in front of patrons and tourists and celebrants and, yes, reporters — people who aren’t used to seeing cops behave this way? What if this behavior isn’t unique at all, it just usually happens in the city’s shadows, away from the public eye?

As you go on to read the rest of the story, it gets even more disturbing because when you have the city citizens wondering who they should turn to in cases of emergency when it is members of their very own Police Department who are committing these crimes.

“I was exclaiming, ‘I can’t believe this is happening,'” a witness testified. “Like, can you do something? Call the police. They’re already here.”

The scary thing throughout this whole ordeal is that it just not the Philadelphia cops at blame here; there are similar types of actions occurring all over the country without much act of accountability by their respective Police Departments or the judicial system. The United States has become such a nation of fear and continues to move towards an authoritative state where there is literally no one left to question the authority and those in power continue to get away with whatever they want.

Prior to reading the report, a very good friend of mine who currently goes to school in Philadelphia told me,

The cops sat us down after a snowball fight last night, saying inappropriate things. It was messed up.

I have known him for over nine years now and he is not one to comment on every issue that decides to come up so when he actually does, I make sure to listen because it definitely carries weight and authenticity.

I wrote about an incident just over a year ago titled “We Live In A ‘Police’ State” that talked about police brutality of a particular case in California. While power trips are to be almost expected by those in positions of power, especially those uneducated, what shocks me most is the lack of condemnation by fellow police and especially public officials.

How are the people supposed to trust a system to protect them when that very system is the one attacking them?

I have left this photo until the end of those with a weak stomach. It is a picture of the victim mentioned above in the Philadelphia incident.

THERE WILL BE BLOOD: This cell-phone picture captures Michael Foley toward the end of his encounter with Officer Kevin Corcoran on Oct. 31, 2008, in Old City.

Really makes you wonder when this type of stuff happens in public, what these guys are doing to the people when there isn’t a crowd around them and when they aren’t in the public eye.  Let your voices be heard and make sure these types of police brutality doesn’t go unheard.


Jet Blue – IAD to MCO

I am going to write as this flight progresses from IAD to MCO.

I was originally at a window seat with my brother and mother being the other two in my row. However, since we had a group of 16, there was an odd cousin who was sitting by herself. She asked to switch seats and after a little merry go round, my dad ended up in my row, my cousin across that row with a couple of other relatives and me in an empty row by myself.

There isn’t anything to complain right now as each seat has it’s own tv and with an empty row, it means I have multiple screens to watch. Right now I have ESPNews and GOLTV on which has been showing ridiculous goals since the flight took off.

The flight has been quite turbulent so far, definitely the most turbulence I’ve ever felt on a flight in my very light career in the air.

I was thinking about taking a nap by the crew came around asking what kind of drinks we want and I’m not going to nap and pass up my free drink.

Also on a side note, I just saw ESPN’s My Wish piece with Jimmy Rollins and a kid named Shaq. Such a great series that ESPN does once a year… great stuff.

Drinks are still not here and the yawns are getting more frequent. I’m not sure I’ll make it staying awake much longer.

The most ridiculous Ben Stiller movie is on. I just can’t remember the name right now but it’s the one with the museum and everything in it comes to life including dinosaurs and explorers such as Louis and Clark.

Even with all the turbulence, the arrival time is still 5 minutes ahead. It has been a pretty quick flight even though I have stayed awake the entire time… and for those that know me, that doesn’t happen very often.

The decent is well under way now. The sun is shining brightly through my window as I type this and the cars are very visible down on the street below. A much more populated area than I expected Orlando to look from up here but it could be that I don’t know what I’m talking about.

A cousin just asked aloud if you can see Dwight Howard from here and I’m sure if he was standing up on the ground, he would be visible.

Current weather looks very sunny, temperature was announced to be in the high 80s but the clouds here look to be very ominous. Please weather, do behave for my duration here until Wednesday.

Approaching the MCO Airport and here’s the land on the runway. A little bumpier than the other ones I have been on but I’m sure the weather had much to do with that.

I’m also pretty sure that I just saw a lightning strike a bit far away but the weather here again is still looking to be pretty good.

A very smooth flight overall and awesome JetBlue staff really showing why they are rated #1 in customer service.