Recently released footage depicting at least four Philadelphia police officers viciously beating an unarmed black bicyclist has gone viral, stirring up national outrage against the Philadelphia Police Department. The footage, recorded by a neighbor’s cell phone, captures 22-year-old Tyree Carroll being pinned down, punched, kicked, and repeatedly shocked with a Taser while he screams for to his grandmother for help. Carroll was subsequently arrested for drug crimes involving crack cocaine, among other misdemeanor and felony charges.
Around 7:30 P.M. on the evening of April 3, 2015, 22-year-old Tyree Carroll was stopped by members of the PPD while riding his bicycle through the East Germantown section of Philadelphia. Only now, over three months later, has footage of the brutal beating that followed been released.
One of Carroll’s neighbors filmed the incident with her cell phone, recording about five minutes of video. About 35 seconds into the footage, viewers can hear the horrified camerawoman quietly murmuring to her companion about the events unfolding outside their window. "Mark," she says, "the cops are beating this man out here on this ground, but I’m, I’m recording everything." After a pause she continues: "Look, look, look," she says urgently, "look how many times they’re beating him!"
The footage was later turned over to Los Angeles-based journalist and blogger Jasmyne Cannick, who has since been in touch with Carroll and his family. Cannick posted the disturbing footage to her YouTube channel, where the video - titled "Philadelphia Cops Beat and Tase Black Man While He Screams for His Grandma" - has reached more than 26,000 views as of July 9.
The officers initially stopped Carroll because they believed they had observed signs of a possible drug deal taking place. After being apprehended, Carroll’s hands were restrained behind his back. Four officers on the scene continually beat and kicked Carroll while he was trapped in this vulnerable position. This is roughly where the camerawoman’s cell phone footage starts rolling.
After about 45 seconds pass, wailing sirens announce the arrival of additional officers. A fifth officer exits his vehicle and approaches the scuffle at about 53 seconds. According to neighbors who witnessed the beating, no fewer than 11 police vehicles and 26 officers - 24 of whom were white - eventually responded to the scene.
"One-two-three-four-five-six cops, on one man," counts the woman as she films. It’s difficult for viewers to make out the distant noise, but the camerawoman translates the chaos, repeating what she hears Carroll saying: "Grandma, come to the door! Grandma, come to the door!"
But Carroll isn’t the only one shouting.
"I have a f****** Taser, here I come!" one of the officers screams. "You’re getting the f****** Taser!"
Another officer encourages him, shouting, "Tase the m***********!"
According to the woman who filmed the incident, she witnessed Carroll being Tased at least five times during the prolonged beating.
Carroll later admitted to biting one of the officers out of sheer desperation to escape. In the aftermath of the event, Carroll stated he was afraid of meeting the same fate as Eric Garner, who asphyxiated after being placed in an illegal chokehold by NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo last summer.
The Philadelphia Police Department is currently investigating the incident. Internal Affairs is reportedly in the process of identifying the officers who were caught on film.
An "unspecified amount" of crack cocaine was discovered on Carroll’s person, leading to drug charges in addition to charges of simple assault, aggravated assault, reckless endangerment, and resisting arrest. Carroll, who is now being held in custody, was on probation for a drug possession conviction from 2014. His arraignment is currently scheduled to take place on July 21.
Be warned the video of Tyree Carroll being beaten is graphic and may be disturbing to some viewers.
If you or someone you love was a victim of excessive force at the hands of the Philadelphia Police Department, the police brutality lawyers of Krasner & Long can help. We take an aggressive approach and leave no stone unturned during our investigations. If your rights were violated by the police, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries, pain, and suffering. Don’t worry if you have lots of questions or aren’t sure where to start - that’s what we’re here for.
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