Two men were walking down a street in Northern Philadelphia when they made a very big mistake — according to two police officers who detained them, locked one man inside a squad car, and searched them, all while making racially derogatory comments.
The men's mistake? Saying hello to someone on the street.
"You don't say hi to strangers," Officer Philip Nace of the 25th District says about 20 seconds into a cell phone video taken by one of the men. "Not in this neighborhood," his partner adds.
The officers seem unaware that the cell phone is recording video; for much of the 16 minutes, it appears to be sitting on the hood of the police cruiser. Officer Nace picks it up at one point, but doesn't notice he's being filmed.
Throughout the video, the police officers yell at the two men and offer questionable reasons for why they stopped them; they claim that they saw the men jaywalk, and that although they didn't, the officers could have gotten a call with the men's descriptions that would justify the stop.
For the record, these "Terry" stops (named after Terry v. Ohio, a Supreme Court holding that lay the groundwork for stop and frisks) require reasonable suspicion of criminal activity.
"You asked me why I stopped you, I said how do you know we didn't get a radio call? You're looking at it from where you are, but you're not looking at it from where we are. You don't know what we know or what we got information on, right? Right? What you don't hear now?"
"You accusing me of robbing someone?"
"I didn't accuse you of anything, can you hear? I said we could have got a call that somebody wearing the clothes that you're wearing just robbed someone, that's why we stopped you, so is that wrong of us?"
The cops also repeatedly threaten violence, telling one man, "Don't fucking play though, you'll be on the same fucking block as him. We'll kick your ass too."
When the man who filmed the interaction calmly asks why he was stopped, he is also threatened with violence.
"You're under investigation right now"
"Investigation of what? I was walking."
"That's not what I saw"
"I was walking."
"You're gonna be in violation if you keep running your mouth when I split your wig open."
"Why don't you shut up. Everybody thinks they're a fucking lawyer and they don't know jack shit," the cop yells at him moment later.
Then, the two officers discuss arresting the men simply because they don't like them.
"You should take that one just for his friggin' big mouth," one cop says.
"Well they crossed the street on a red light, so..." the other replies.
Later in the video, the cops begin making derogatory comments and taunting one of the men.
"Well then don't come to fucking Philadelphia, stay in Jersey," one cop says.
"I have family out here."
"Yeah well then don't come over here, we don't want you here anyway, all you do is weaken the fucking country," the other cop says.
"Yeah? I weaken the country? How I weaken the country? By working?"
When the man explains he works as a server at a country club, the cop replies, "Serving weed?"
A police spokesperson told the Daily News that internal affairs is investigating the incident and that that the investigation, not the video, would determine the outcome.
[image via YouTube]