Philly police seek firing of 4 officers over beatings
PHILADELPHIA — Philadelphia's police commissioner said Monday that four officers will be fired and four others disciplined for their roles in the beatings of three shooting suspects, an encounter that was captured on videotape and drew widespread outrage.
Another eight officers who had physical contact with the suspects will undergo additional training on the department's policies concerning the use of force, Commissioner Charles Ramsey said. He said the police department made the disciplinary decisions after reviewing frames from enhanced tape of a video shot by a television news helicopter on May 5.
The video, shot by WTXF-TV, shows the suspects being pulled from their car on the side of the road and groups of officers kicking, punching and beating the men. A total of 19 officers — 18 city police and one transit officer — were involved.
Two of the officers being fired are relatively new to the force and can be terminated immediately, Ramsey said. Two others are being suspended without pay for 30 days with intent to dismiss.
Three other officers are being suspended and one sergeant is being demoted. A criminal investigation is continuing.
Police said they had been pursuing the car in connection with a triple shooting. The three men — Brian Hall, 23, Pete Hopkins, 19, and Dwayne Dyches, 24, all of Philadelphia — have been charged with attempted murder and related counts stemming from the shooting. Their attorneys have said they had nothing to do with it.
One of Dyches' attorneys said he suffered a welt on his head the size of a baseball and that one of his legs was seriously injured.
All three of the shooting suspects are black. Ramsey has denied allegations that the beatings were racially motivated and said at least one officer involved is black.
The beating occurred at the same time police were conducting an intense manhunt for a suspect in the slaying two days earlier of Sgt. Stephen Liczbinski, but Ramsey said Monday that there was no indication that any of the officers thought the suspect was among the three men in the car.