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Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey, left, and Mayor Michael Nutter,
answer questions at a news briefing

Police Beating Renews Controversy Over Excessive Force

May 08, 2008 06:31 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
by Lindsey Chapman
Six Philadelphia police officers have been removed from street duty following the beating of three shooting suspects. The incident raises concerns about police brutality and its underlying causes.

30-Second Summary

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The Philadelphia police department has removed six officers from street duty after they beat three suspects in a drug-related shooting.

Around a dozen officers were part of the incident; it’s expected that more will be identified and reassigned to other duties.

The event has renewed controversy about the use of force by law officers, calling into question racial motives. Yet both Philadelphia’s mayor and police commissioner said race wasn’t an issue in this case. Just a few days earlier, Philadelphia police officer Sgt. Stephen Liczbinski was killed while on duty.

“When you consider the circumstances in Philadelphia over the last few days, coupled with officers’ heightened sense of safety for themselves, there is a need to rethink who is being deployed, for how long, and whether or not certain officers should even be responding to these kinds of situations at this time,” said Police Advisory Commission chairman Robert S. Nix.

The incident is part of a trend of increased police brutality since 9/11. James Pasco, executive director of the National Fraternal Order of Police, cautions critics, saying that despite the evidence of a trend, the number of brutality cases in the United States is still quite small.

The viral transmission of the video depicting the beating has fueled public outcry.

Headline Links: Philadelphia police officers off street duty

Opinions & Analysis: Is police brutality a racial issue?

Reactions: Excited delirium

Related Topics: Police brutality on the rise and on the Web

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