Shocker: Philadelphia Cops Actually Charged for Brutality, Lying

In an all-too-rare occurrence, two Philadelphia police officers are being charged after surveillance footage showed that they had lied on their reports to cover up the fact that they had brutally beaten a man they had pulled over on a traffic stop.

The footage shows Officers Sean McKnight and Kevin Robinson chasing 23-year-old Najee Rivera in their unlit patrol car and knocking him to the ground with a baton before pushing him against a wall and repeatedly hitting him. Rivera can be heard screaming throughout the attack.

“He never resisted. He never struck them,” local District Attorney Seth Williams said of the May 2013 incident. “He never fought back. They just started hitting him.”…

But Rivera’s girlfriend recovered the video from a nearby business before the case went before a grand jury. The charges against him were dropped. He subsequently won a $200,000 settlement in a federal civil rights lawsuit he filed against the city. The two officers were taken off of street duty after the video came to light.

“The video undermined every aspect of the officers’ account of the incident,” Williams said.

Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey said that the two officers were suspended for 30 days, while the department initiates plans to terminate their employment. Robinson and McKnight also face several charges, including aggravated assault, criminal conspiracy, filing a false report to law enforcement authorities and tampering with public records.

Good. More of this, please. A lot more.

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  • composer99

    Now comes the test: will a jury convict?

  • Modusoperandi

    In west Philadelphia born and raised

    On the playground was where I spent most of my days

    Chillin’ out maxin’ relaxin’ all cool

    And all shootin some b-ball outside of the school

    When a couple of cops who were up to no good

    Pulled me aside and beat me quite severely

  • Numenaster

    +1 for concept, but the scansion needs work. Not up to your usual standard, Modus.

  • Modusoperandi

    Numenaster, really? I thought that stumbling, abrupt and expectation-subverting coda works better than an unnecessary and, in my estimation, foolish focus on meter.

    Next you’ll demand that I rhyme! No way, I say! Not on my dime!

  • busterggi

    Charged is not convicted.

  • cptdoom

    I know a lot of people worry about the overuse of surveillance cameras in public, but if they can keep our public servants a bit more honest, or at least ensure they’re held accountable, they could be a good thing.

  • khms

    I suspect that what made this case move is the already-won civil suit.

  • StevoR

    Shows why we need compulsory on-cop cameras.

  • marcus

    They deserve to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, of course. As a stop-gap it would be nice just to see assholes like this lose their jobs, be banned from police forces, and be unable to use their status to hurt people. Not enough, but a very good start compared to “… placed on paid suspension” until the heat blows over.

  • sundoga

    Well, the department does seem to be doing that, Marcus. They’re on suspension while the department starts termination proceedings against them (as I understand it, firing from a police force is a complicated matter in most jurisdictions). It’s also my understanding that police forces look poorly on applicants who were relieved from their positions for cause.

  • Nice Ogress

    …Except, of course, that as an ex-cop with a racist, violent incident on their record, they’ll be snapped up by any police Department in the lower (or upper) Midwest, as the St. Loius PD has shown us.

    Now I’m all depressed.

  • Nice Ogress

    St. Louis PD, rather. Argh.

  • marcus

    @10 Understood. My point was that at least this PD was making a refreshing step in the right direction. Probably should have said that.