As debate over the merits of “stop and frisk” policing continues, a new YouTube video has added fuel to the fire by revealing the disturbing tactics of two Philadelphia officers.
Titled “Police unlawful harassment and racial profiling,” the video is dated Sept. 27 and shows two pedestrians being stopped by police officers after saying “hi” to a third, unseen individual on the street.
"You don't say 'Hi' to strangers,"one officer, identified as Philip Nace by the Philadelphia Daily News, said as he confronts the two pedestrians and pushes one against the car. The other individual is recording the scene on his smartphone as it unfolds.
After Nace tells the man to put his phone away because he’s
“under investigation,” the phone is set down but continues
“Investigation of what? I was walking,” the man said, to which the officer replies,“That’s not what I saw … if you keep running your mouth I’ll split your wig open.”
The two go back and forth, with the man asking Nace why he’d been stopped, and Nace offering that he doesn’t know what information the police have on them.
“Are you accusing me of robbing somebody?” the pedestrian asks.
“I didn’t accuse you of anything,” Nace said.“I said we could’ve got a call, that somebody wearing the clothes you’re wearing just robbed somebody. That’s why we stopped you. Is that wrong of us?”
When asked if he’s permitted to grab pedestrians in this manner, Nace replies,“I’ll grab you any way I got to… Why don’t you shut up? Everyone thinks they’re a [expletive] lawyer and they don’t know jack [expletive].”
At one point, the officers attempt to justify their actions by claiming the two pedestrians were jaywalking. Nace also accuses the two pedestrians of “weakening the country” by “freeloading.”
The race of the two pedestrians is not clear in the video, but “stop and frisk” tactics are increasingly coming under fire as demeaning, and for unfairly targeting minorities without sufficient cause.
"This is exactly what the city of Philadelphia says its cops don't do," Mary Catherine Roper, senior staff attorney for the state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, told the Daily News.“The only way we stop it from happening is if the police department acknowledges that it does happen and takes steps to root it out."
In August, a federal judge ruled New York City’s “stop and frisk” policy unconstitutional on the grounds that it is a form of racial profiling.
Meanwhile, a new study released in September revealed that “stop and frisk” tactics are causing a large proportion of the public to mistrust the police. The lack of faith can become so severe that even those who are victimized become reluctant to report crimes.