ACLU Sues Police for Using Force to Stop Photos of Arrest

Two photos showing the encounter between Amanda Geraci and Philly police officers.

Two photos showing the encounter between Amanda Geraci and Philly police officers.

It’s been almost three years now since Commissioner Charles Ramsey issued a directive to Philly Police, letting them know that it’s entirely legal for the public to record officers doing their work and making arrests — as long as the photographer doesn’t interfere with that police work.

It seems his officers still haven’t gotten the message. The ACLU today announced another lawsuit — the fifth in a series — against the department on behalf of a woman who was physically restrained from recording officers arresting a protestor.
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Police Seek Information About Possible Homophobic Attack at 15th and Walnut Last Night

UPDATE, 9 p.m.: This evening I spoke with Caryn Kunkle, one of the first people to post on social media about the attack. She says she has been long-time friends with both victims. Although she was unwilling to provide their names, she did tell me that the men are 30 and 31 and described them as “tall, masculine-looking dudes.” Kunkle said the men were walking home when a group of approximately eight to ten young people bumped into them. After a very brief verbal confrontation where one of the attackers asked if the men were boyfriends, the group physically struck.

“It went from 0 to 100 miles per hour,” she said. “They were calling them ‘fucking faggots’ and everything.”

According to Kunkle, one of the victims fractured both his cheekbones and jawbone, and has a 2-inch laceration from his nose to inside his lip; he is scheduled to go into surgery Sunday morning.

Kunkle also said that the Special Victims Unit is involved and that they should be issuing a statement within the next several days.

ORIGINAL: According to posts on Facebook and Twitter earlier today, a gay couple were attacked by a gang of eight to 12 people at 15th and Walnut streets at approximately 11 p.m. Thursday night:

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Philadelphia Cop Joseph Griffin Arrested for Domestic Violence

Joseph_Griffin-250px Joseph Griffin, an eight-year veteran of the Philadelphia Police Department, was arrested today for allegedly physically assaulting his wife.

The arrest is the result of an ongoing investigation by Philadelphia PD internal affairs and the District Attorney’s office. Griffin has been suspended for 30 days with the intent to dismiss by Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsay. He was charged with endangering the welfare of a child, simple assault, terroristic threats, harassment, intimidation of a victim, and recklessly endangering another person.

Griffin is 30, and assigned to the 8th District, which covers Far Northeast Philadelphia east of Roosevelt Boulevard. According to a statement issued by the District Attorney’s office, Griffin is being processed by police after turning himself in to internal affairs earlier today.

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Philly Cop Sues Philly Police for Police Brutality

Barely a week goes by without someone suing the Philadelphia Police Department for one thing or another. Lawsuits are filed so frequently that they rarely ever stand out. Oh, somebody is suing the police again. But in this particular case, a Philadelphia police officer is suing his own force for police brutality. Read more »

UPDATE: Partially Clothed Stabbed Man, Two Bodies Found Along Kelly Drive

[Update 9:34 a.m.] Action News has a gallery of photos:’s Emily Babay has been live-tweeting from the scene. She reports:

Two men were stabbed, bound and their bodies sunk with a makeshift anchor in the Schuylkill River, while a third man found half-dressed said he had been abducted in a bizarre series of events off Kelly Drive early this morning.

She reports that the 20-year-old survivor told police he was kidnapped at 62nd Street and Woodland Avenue.

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Ramsey Makes Right Call on Body Cameras. But …

Well-done, Commissioner Ramsey.

No, that’s not patronizing or sarcastic. I’m genuinely excited that the commissioner has announced his support for outfitting Philadelphia Police officers with so-called “body cameras” — like the dash cams attached to police cars, only attached to the officers themselves.

The cameras can only aid the cause of justice in Philadelphia. They’ll aid police, backing up their descriptions of crimes and crime scenes that they witness, giving prosecutors and juries confidence that they’re getting the full story. (See the Wolfcon commercial above, compiled of clips officers apparently believed help back their stories.) But they might also restrain the worst impulses of the department’s rogue officers: In Rialto, California, use of force fell by 60 percent — and citizen complaints by 88 percent — in the first year. That’s astonishing.

And that’s why Ramsey wants to start a pilot program, testing the cameras, by year’s end.

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