Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Four Phila. Police Officers Fired For Video Arrest

I'm so glad you didn't rush to judgment, Kommissar Ramsey!

Yesterday, Ramsey fired . . . four officers - all from the 35th Police District - and disciplined four others, including demoting a sergeant, for their role in a May 5 police encounter filmed by a news helicopter and seen around the world.

Oh, in case you haven't heard, the IAB investigation was not completed, none of the officers were interviewed, and the sergeant was transferred the day after the incident. Now, that's what I call due process!

"All of us as law-enforcement professionals have to understand that, unlike criminals on the street, we have rules that we have to abide by," Ramsey said. "We have an obligation to do things the right way. We have a legal authority to use force to take people into custody, but only that force necessary to effect the arrest. If it gets beyond that, then we've got an issue, we've got a problem and we have to take some action."

Good point, Chief Wiggum, but you're forgetting one thing: one of the rules we have to abide by is due process. You sir, circumvented that at the expense of your own officers. How can any of us trust you anymore?

In this case, the new commissioner's action - met with both praise and protest - was relatively swift, particularly from a Police Department with a history of drawn-out internal investigations into alleged police misconduct.

Ah, the dreaded "Commissioner's Direct Action." That's PPD-speak for jumping the gun to make yourself look good in front of the media and the toads. I did mention that there was no investigation performed before Wiggum fired four officers, suspended three officers, and demoted a sergeant (after he was transferred - sounds like double jeopardy to me), right?

Of course, Mayor Squidward threw his two cents in, as well . . .

"Today's announcement represents, I believe, what is required in this matter - swift, direct action," Nutter said. "I think this represents a new day in the Philadelphia Police Department and how we deal with these kinds of situations."

And this new day begins with our mayor and police kommissar flagrantly violating the officers' rights? Good to know. At least they're consistent, since neither of these idiots has a problem with making and enforcing unconstitutional gun laws.

Ramsey said he was worried about the morale of his officers and stressed that the discipline against the eight officers was "not a reflection" on the rank and file. "We've got people who get out there every single day and they do an absolutely tremendous job," Ramsey said.

Now you're worried about morale? NOW YOU'RE WORRIED??!!! It's a little late for that, Chuck. You should have been worried about morale the day after this video was released, when you said that no one should rush to judgment, and you would make sure there was a thorough investigation. You should have worried about morale before you became a bold faced liar in the eyes of your troops!

John J. McNesby, president of Lodge 5 of the Fraternal Order of Police, accused Ramsey of rushing to judgment.

"Every common criminal has the right to due process under the law," McNesby said. "Here, the officers didn't get due process. They weren't interviewed. It was more or less, they were guilty until proven innocent." (The Philadelphia Daily News)

You're absolutely correct, John. Welcome to Philadelphia.

Almost every officer in this department would have been okay with punishing the officers in the video after a fair and thorough investigation. All any of us wanted was to see them get the same due process that the three gun-toting thugs in the video are receiving now.

Nutter and Ramsey decided that a Philadelphia police officer is not worthy enough to receive these basic civil rights, and look at the result. Morale in this department is effectively destroyed now, Ramsey. And there's nothing you can do - save for resigning - that will bring it back.

(Captain America has his thoughts on the subject HERE.)

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