Nasty Arrest of Two Men at OutFest Prompts Internal Affairs Investigation

An Internal Affairs investigation has been launched after two men who were arrested at OutFest a few weeks ago claim that officers unnecessarily used excessive force when taking them into custody.

The incident took place at 12th and Locust streets, where there was an anti-gay protest led by Christian group Recent America. You know the ones. Anthony Reto and his boyfriend, Thomas Berner, began to snap photos with the protesters in the background when, allegedly, they knocked into a sign, prompting Civil Affairs officers to intervene. That’s when things started to get crazy. According to NBC 10, an officer claims to have been pushed from behind, causing the team to use excessive force. A bystander was there to record a dizzying video (below), which, as NBC 10 explains, shows:

An unidentified plain clothes Philadelphia Police officer who appears to be holding the 23-year-old by the back of the neck as he screamed “help me.” In a second video, obtained by NBC10, a second plain clothes officer can be seen putting her knee into Reto’s shoulder as he attempted to push himself off of the ground. … Later, police say, Berner allegedly tried to pull police off of Reto saying “get off my boyfriend” and was arrested.

Reto and Berner claim that, even though they didn’t resist arrest,  the officers used an excessive amount of force, and that Reto walked away with a number of injuries, including bruises on his legs and scrapes on his face. The couple has filed a complaint with Civil Affairs’ LGBT Community Liaison Deputy Commissioner Kevin Bethel, and the information was passed along to Internal Affairs to begin investigating. Stay tuned to G Philly for updates.


Be respectful of our online community and contribute to an engaging conversation. We reserve the right to ban impersonators and remove comments that contain personal attacks, threats, or profanity, or are flat-out offensive. By posting here, you are permitting Philadelphia magazine and Metro Corp. to edit and republish your comment in all media.