Bike Messengers Allege Police Brutality

By Daniel Denvir
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 25 | Posted Feb. 23, 2011

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“Usually when there’s liquor and immaturity involved, I would be mindful of that,” said Lt. Ray Evers. “At a bar, after midnight...It’s not like it was a tea party.”

When the reporter mentioned that Phillips had sustained complaints for physical assault, Evers responded, “Well, you have to put your hands on people in this job sometimes.”

Viteri confirmed that the man pictured on a Facebook page belonging to Wingrove was involved in assaulting him.

According to Wingrove’s Facebook page, he has been on force since 2006. Beforehand, he was a SETPA officer for three and a half years and served in the Navy in the 1990s.

The report charges Viteri with disorderly conduct-language, public drunkenness, and obstructing a highway. The disorderly conduct charge may be vulnerable to a legal challenge.

“This man should not have been charged under 18 Pa. C.S. 5503(a)(3) for disorderly conduct for use of bad language,” according to an email to PW from Mary Catherine Roper, a staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania. “These types of citations have been illegal for decades, since the United States Supreme Court ruled in 1971 that a man could not be cited for wearing a jacket that said ‘Fuck the Draft’ in a courthouse: Cohen v. California, 403 U.S. 15 (1971).  And, more recently, the PA Supreme Court ruled in 1999 that saying ‘fuck you, asshole’ to a police officer could not be the basis of a disorderly conduct charge. Commonwealth v. Hock, 728 A.2d 943 (Pa. 1999).”

Evers says that a disorderly conduct-language charge means that Viteri was arrested for the “volume” of his speech late at night in a “residential neighborhood” rather than its content. But the scene at 15 W. Girard was already loud. Randon Martin of Point Breeze was at the party and recorded a video of the confrontation. It is too dark to see anything, but there is a commotion taking place, and a voice that he identifies as a police officer saying, “You wanna videotape? Well you can go to jail too.”

“The amount of force employed to subdue an unarmed and unthreatening dreadlocked black man was entirely unnecessary and painfully familiar,” wrote Root. “I can't help but feel that if I (a relatively clean-cut white male) were [John], this never would have happened.”

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Comments 1 - 25 of 25
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1. ClintJCL said... on Feb 24, 2011 at 08:38AM

“Pigs. Useless pigs.”

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2. Anonymous said... on Feb 24, 2011 at 10:48AM

“"John" is a good friend of mine, what they did to him is UNEXCCEPTABLE.
he's one of the most laid back caring people I know. this is a low that cops/ law enforcement officials seem to crawl to; too often.
cops are here to protect us, we should feel at ease when we see them not fucking terror.
I am appalled that these "officers of the law" have yet to be apprehended.....”

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3. Anonymous said... on Feb 24, 2011 at 11:59AM


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4. Anonymous said... on Feb 24, 2011 at 11:59AM


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5. Anonymous said... on Feb 24, 2011 at 01:24PM

“come on IA, do your fucking job. granted pigs will always stick together but you gotta break em so shit like this doesn't keep happening.”

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6. What??? said... on Feb 24, 2011 at 01:31PM

“Black on Black -- what does this imply about safety & social conditions in this area of the city.

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7. Anonymous said... on Feb 24, 2011 at 01:31PM

“Shark Week. Never Forget.”

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8. Anonymous said... on Feb 24, 2011 at 01:37PM

“i mean, bike messengers are generally tards, but this is just silly.”

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9. Anonymous said... on Feb 24, 2011 at 04:53PM

“Welcome to the 26th district. The police get paid off by drug dealers, watch crimes being committed without interfering, and normally doesn't even show up when called. I know this because I was raised here. Instead of fighting it, join it. Theres alot of money to be made from it, and you can have alot of fun doing it, especially if you know a few of the cops and own a bar. Personally, I run a bar on tulip and albert st, and have made several deals that allow me to do many things under the radar... and there's alot of money to be made from it. Not even the State, or L&I can shut me down without the help of the local district!!! All I gotta say, is get used to it, or stay in south philly.”

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10. Anonymous said... on Feb 24, 2011 at 05:56PM

“cop are still people they hid behind there bage & there possy then they feed off each other. they cant control there tempers at that point once it start's to go down. i seen & had experienced cops from all around they are pig's sorry to say they don"t perteck they will serve up an ass woooooopin . i wouldent ask the police for help help your self first. any one could be come a cop now days any way so do not not the police fuckem they do suck.
' pine creak awsome documentry”

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11. Anonymous said... on Feb 24, 2011 at 05:58PM


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12. SANTANA said... on Feb 24, 2011 at 07:04PM

“This whole thing angers and saddens me. I feel ashamed that my taxes pay the salaries of these men. And even more ashamed at the city of Philadelphia for letting these unapologetic repeat violent offenders "police" us everyday citizens. "Philly's Finest" is a phrase long forgotten. I hold my head low today and hope restitution finds it's way to the victims of these violent acts.”

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13. jasonhellion said... on Feb 25, 2011 at 01:22PM

“what an outrage, but i mean cmon, what do you expect when you call the cops?”

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14. brakesstopyourbike said... on Feb 25, 2011 at 03:51PM

“It is entirely outrageous to me, shocking even, in seeing this apparent uncaring and uncalled for inability to spell, while acting as a self-righteous idiot. 2 fights at a benefit for friends?

I think you fixed gear idiots are just that and deserve to get beat down.”

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15. Anonymous said... on Feb 25, 2011 at 10:07PM

“@#15- excuse me?? you are making assumptions about people and have nothing to back up what you're saying. so a journalist spelled something wrong and that means these people deserved to get beat up? what is your problem? what are you actually trying to say?”

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16. Anonymous said... on Feb 26, 2011 at 12:03AM

“The days of protecting and serving are long gone. The PPD is full of thugs, bullies, the personality disordered, and even outright sociopaths.
***check out "CorruptPhillyCops" channel on YouTube***

to learn more about one of the worst police departments in America.

For example: "A 2004 investigation of the Philadelphia Police Department by an ex-prosecutor revealed that, in effect, over 99% of valid complaints filed with their Internal Affairs Division result in no action being taken against corrupt officers. Also, Philadelphia is the only city of the country's 10 most populous which does not have a civilian review board with the power and authority to discipline and fire corrupt cops. "”

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17. Anonymous said... on Feb 26, 2011 at 07:04AM

“This is why no one cares about the cops of this city, and I think that they need to loose their badges and their rights”

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18. Anonymous said... on Feb 26, 2011 at 02:52PM

“Awww. Hipster got beaten up. Worry not, it is all good.”

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19. brakesmakefunofyouandyoudidntgetthejoke said... on Feb 26, 2011 at 06:28PM

“I make my statements because its just amazing how many people can act as though the police literally roll through town and just choose at random who to beat with their clubs or abuse their authority on.

I can see that clearly half the story was told and explained while there is apparently no need to even check on the police report as to why the force was deemed necessary.

I am sure some cops being people, are like some people who are not cops. Simple, Stupid, Biased and idiots. But not all cops, in fact I am sure MOST are not. I am not a cop, and im not endorsing beating anyone, fixed gear idiots excluded of course. I am merely bored and enjoyed reading the posts, and noticed many misspellings, which I am sure may have been caused by the "outrage". But surely this outrage by so many would have made it to the news outlets and then on to city hall, calling for the firing of everyone in site...

at least have a benefit for those beaten at the original benefit...”

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20. Who Is Anonymous said... on Feb 26, 2011 at 08:07PM

“I wish Anonymous would stick to one position on this....
So confusing all these things to say but no one to actually say them.”

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21. Charlie Sheen said... on Feb 28, 2011 at 02:26PM

“someone link to the youtube vid? DOTcom notation, you kno

seriously, since when does one bike messenger run up on another bike messenger and start hitting him with a stick/baton, at the M room?

also, the whole videotaping someone without his or her permission, illegal under PA law and the reason why the one officer makes the comment about videotaping, is crapola. we're constantly being videotaped by security cameras without our knowledge or consent. i think that's the real story here.”

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22. Anonymous said... on Mar 4, 2011 at 05:46AM

“Everyone talking trash. None of yous were there. We don't know what went off. Witnesses, A group of drunks? Yea take their word. How many times I myself have been drunk and been acting stupid. I watched the video on youtube and saw a large group of drunks running their mouths and screaming while thos cops were doing their job. Lets throw you in the middle of a drunk crowd, Outnumbered and see how you fend for youself. Maybe if people wern't fighting they wouldn't of been there in the first place! If I guy has to say yea I was drinking but I wasn't drunk then he was. Thats my line all the time! Maybe if the crowd would of gave those cops some room, stayed out of it then John would of been able to talk to them. Thats the problem a group of idiots always escalates the situation/scene ect... Nose people would just back of and stay out of it then maybe thos cops could of talked to him instead. But NA! lets all throw our 2 cents in right? See the police, let them do their job, leave them be!”

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23. Anonymous said... on Mar 4, 2011 at 05:48AM

“O! one more thing, If he was beat with sticks and batons why does he have such a little bruise on his head, like rug burn? Wasn't he hit earlier in the head by a guy he was fighting with? One small brusie on the top of his head, but the story reads of him getting BEAT DOWN! I've seen beat downs, This doesn't look like one of them!”

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24. Misconduct said... on Jul 25, 2011 at 10:36PM

“It is unfortunate when a few bad cops cause the public to question the intergrity of an entire force. Police brutality & police misconduct a simply not acceptable--we trust them to protect us, not hurt us. There are some disturbing police brutality videos on www,”

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25. Anonymous said... on Oct 23, 2011 at 06:08AM

“To the naive defenders of criminal cops: Is every victim of the 400-plus Philadelphia cops convicted of crimes since the 1970's always a felon by default of his false arrest? You gullible sheep have been brainwashed into believing that cops can do no wrong and civilians can do no right, just as cops have been deluded into believing that all civilians are the evil enemy and should be dehumanized and attacked.”


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