Written for the Philadelphia Libertarian Examiner found here.
This past week, I was shocked to see so many articles and news stories about police brutality in Philadelphia. (Note: I was not shocked because it is happening, but shocked that it is finally being made public!)
In this week’s Citypaper, author Andrew Thompson writes about an incident that happened in Old City around Halloween in his article called “Who Polices the Police? They Do. That’s the Problem.” Michael Foley, a extremely intoxicated 25 year old who was being nothing more than a public nuisance (yelling, being loud, etc) was punched in the face, thrown to the ground, and hit him with his baton several times, threw him into a newspaper stand, then thrown into a garbage can, all while screaming for help to the onlookers. But who do you call for help when something like this happens? This article makes that point evident and it also explains why police often get away with misconduct.
In today’s Inquirer Daily News, the cover story again tells the story of more police brutality, this time happening to an unexpected target — a 63 year old grandmother attempting to ride an exercise bike at the gym. Unaware of new rules at the health club, even when she inquired about them beforehand, Carroll Shannon hopped on an exercise bike. After getting in a dispute with the supervisor, two Philadelphia police ended up “assaulting her and tossing her into a jail cell overnight.” This resulted in Shannon with a broken thumb, numerous bruises and pain caused by a cervical spine injury operation she had in 2008.
As of late, police brutality has been on the rise, as well as police militarization. And if you think that it is all for show, just research some of the costs associated with upgrading gear, the innocent people being raided and the victimless crimes resulting in violence.
Tell me, is this really necessary?