A video taken March 31 appears to show a Philadelphia police officer roughing up a citizen for filming him. According to Photography Is Not A Crime, in May a lawsuit was filed against the city on behalf of Air Force veteran Roderick King, Thomas Stenberg, Sara Tice and Brian Jackson.
The four friends say they saw an officer driving erratically in a marked SUV at about 2 a.m. on Easter Sunday. Stenberg claims he yelled at the officer for making an illegal left turn and suddenly the officer pulled over to confront the group.
On camera, the officer appears to cross the street and approach King, who is filming the incident on his cell phone.
Getting in King’s face the officer repeatedly shouts, “Don’t f---ing touch me!”
“I’m not touching you,” King responds repeatedly.
In another video taken by one of the friends, we get a better view of the incident. When the officer confronted him, King's hands were up in the air. Suddenly, the officer knocks the phone from King’s hand, grabs him by the shirt and throws him against the SUV. He then handcuffs King. The friends try to reason with the officer, but he puts King into the SUV and drives away with him.
According to the suit, the officer said King was under arrest for public intoxication. But instead of the driving him to the precinct, he just drove him to a dark location in North Philadelphia and then dropped him back off at the corner where his friends were standing. He offered no explanation.
King sued for being wrongfully detained. His attorney Kevin Mincey said King was terrified he was about to be beaten. Mincey compared the officer’s actions to kidnapping.
"We view it as part of the policy of stop-and-frisk — the officers thinking they have the right to stop folks whenever they want to and they can justify it later," Mincey told the Philadelphia Inquirer.
The complaint seeks more than $1 million in damages.
Mark McDonald, spokesman for Mayor Michael Nutter, declined to comment on the suit. He did note that he does not believe officers abuse stop-and-frisk procedures.
“They’re not trained for that and that’s not what they do,” McDonald said.