Sucker Punch

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

Most of you have probably seen this video by now. It was taken in Philadelphia. I’ll just make the obvious point others have already made: Even assuming the woman had been the one who threw water/silly string on the cop, the reaction should at least get him fired. And probably prosecuted. That it doesn’t appear to have been her makes it worse, but is kinda’ beside the point.

Digg it |  reddit |  del.icio.us |  Fark

65 Responses to “Sucker Punch”

  1. #1 |  Bill | 

    Unreal. Can’t wait for the internal investigation, paid leave and findings that the officer’s behavior was justified. There might be a shot at justice b/c of the video, but without it, forget it. And as always the case with brutality, she gets arrested to boot

  2. #2 |  Bobby V | 

    Is it me, or does the person behind the victim seem to be the one throwing water into the crowd of police?

  3. #3 |  tarran | 

    Is it me, or does the person behind the victim seem to be the one throwing water into the crowd of police?

    No Bobby, it’s not just you.

    You’ll find few organizations that are greater hives of scum and villainy than the gangbangers known as the Philadelphia Police.

  4. #4 |  Thom | 

    Do cops undergo any evaluation when they are recruited to make sure they have the ability to keep their cool under pressure? I would think that this would be much more important than whether they’ve smoked pot more than 5 times and crap like that. It seems like police hiring practices are based on looking for loyalty and the willingness to obey arbitrary and stupid orders as opposed to looking for level-headed people who can go out and work as peace officers without freaking out.

  5. #5 |  Aresen | 

    Even assuming the woman had been the one who threw water/silly string on the cop, the reaction should at least get him fired. And probably prosecuted.

    Radley, your wry, ironic humor is killing me.

  6. #6 |  ClubMedSux | 

    Bobby, I don’t believe so. If you look closely when the water is thrown, you see a black sleeved arm and a bare leg. The person I believe you’re referring to does have long black sleeves but also has long pants, so I’m pretty sure it’s somebody else. In fact, after the person throwing the water disappears off screen, I don’t see anybody else pop up wearing shorts so I don’t think they’re in the rest of the video at all.

  7. #7 |  ClubMedSux | 

    Oh, wait… When you (Bobby V) said “the person behind the victim,” I thought you meant the person standing behind her AFTER she’s assaulted and arrested. If you just meant that she wasn’t the one who threw the water, you are correct.

  8. #8 |  Over the River | 

    Until Radley said something I thought it was the sucker-punched woman who had done “something”. But she reacts to the “something” about the same time as the thug-cop. She turns toward the person attached to the dark-colored sleeve right after that person discharged the “something”. She walks to the curb and the thug-cop sucker-punches her and performs a false arrest.

    “something” = water or silly-string

  9. #9 |  Cyto | 

    I really enjoyed the reaction of the other officers. They immediately moved into a protective phalanx around the assaulting officer and the arrestee, showing no real emotion or attachment to the events.

    This shows an uncommon level of training and coordination. Normally in these situations 4-6 other officers will jump on the arrestee applying additional “necessary force” and shouting things like “stop resisting”, “get up”, “lie down”, “roll over”, “Be still”…

    If I was cynical I’d say their quick reaction to move into a protective circle was because they knew they’d just witnessed a criminal assault on a young female by one of their own and realized they were in imminent danger of being attacked by an angry mob. But it’s probably just down to excellent training.

  10. #10 |  Juice | 

    http://science.discovery.com/tv/hawkings-sci-fi-masters/episodes/episode-guide.html

    Sentient drones.

    Steven Hawking’s Sci-Fi Masters did it.

    And I have a totally free checking account. I didn’t realize it was dead.

  11. #11 |  william wright | 

    Do cops undergo any evaluation when they are recruited to make sure they have the ability to keep their cool under pressure?

    Anything a police department would attempt in this regard would have a “disparate” racial impact and would likely be overturned by the courts. Really, any attempt at quality control is likely to be ruled illegal.

  12. #12 |  Juice | 

    Oops. wrong comment section

  13. #13 |  MikeZ | 

    Technically speaking I think the girl did appear to spray something at the cop, so I don’t think she is innocent:

    Shortened gif showing through courtesy of reddit:
    http://i.imgur.com/6I8dc.gif

    Of course sucker-punching her is completely out of line.

  14. #14 |  Nick T. | 

    *Entirely* besides the point. It could be argued that the number job of a police officer in terms of what they most often need to practice and the most important skill they should possess is chilling mofos out; traffic accident, argument between neighbors, guy blows his top in a business or government office – de-escalate the situation asap! Yet all we ever seem to see and encounter are officers blowing their tops when people talk back, curse them out, get assertive with their *rights* and now… toss some water on them.
    To be fair, it takes a predisposition to punching women in the face, AND a relative certainty in the knowledge that you won’t pay consequences to get this result.

  15. #15 |  James | 

    Do cops undergo any evaluation when they are recruited to make sure they have the ability to keep their cool under pressure?

    Evaluation happens after the fact and for an entirely different reason.

  16. #16 |  Marty | 

    it’s interesting that he was one of the higher ranking officers I saw in the video…

  17. #17 |  celticdragonchick | 

    The comments at PoliceOne on this story will make you want to gargle bleach.

  18. #18 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    #17 celticdragonchick: “The comments at PoliceOne on this story will make you want to gargle bleach.”

    Precisely why I never visit that site anymore. Even when I was still interested in employment w/ police agencies, I was generally disgusted by the tone and entitlement complexes displayed by those commenters. To put a new spin on the old Richard Nixon philosophy, they think that if a cop does it, it can’t be illegal. And that is typically where the discussion ends.

  19. #19 |  Len | 

    And of course this officer is highly decorated, so, how many Nazi soldiers were highly decorated?

  20. #20 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    #16 Marty:
    Yeah I caught that too, white shirt and all. And to think he’s responsible for discipline of other officers. Bet that goes well.

  21. #21 |  Chicagojon | 

    White shirt = officer?

    Good to know that he’s in charge and setting the proper tone for the other officers. No doubt he’s the most highly educated and decorated as well.

  22. #22 |  MikeZ | 

    #14, says “Entirely* besides the point.”

    I would agree except for the last sentence of Radley’s post. I wouldn’t say this incident is made “worse” because she appears not to be the one throwing something.

  23. #23 |  ShelbyC | 

    The noble folks over at police one are all a-flutter about how brave these cops were.

  24. #24 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    #23 ShelbyC: “The noble folks over at police one are all a-flutter about how brave these cops were.”

    Oh I bet they are. By god I even heard Spanish being spoken in that crowd. You know that subversive third world language you hear in the ghetto and on Novellas. They’re takin’ r jawwwbs and takin over the streets of Philadelphia! Today it’s silly string. Who knows what it will be tomorrow. But we have to act now, cuz we don’t want the final proof of their aggression to come in the form of a mushroom cloud (h/t to Condoleeza Rice). Leave it to Philly P.D. to keep ‘em in their place. Way to punch a skinny woman in the face like she’s an MMA star. So brave, so virtuous! That’ll show ‘em!

  25. #25 |  Quiet Desperation | 

    They immediately moved into a protective phalanx around the assaulting officer and the arrestee, showing no real emotion or attachment to the events.

    Well, seeing what *emotion* got that poor woman from the cop, I think I’d have to pick the lack of emotion option overall.

    I wouldn’t say this incident is made “worse” because she appears not to be the one throwing something.

    Well, it does add a “lash out blindly” angle to it. That makes the “disproportionate response” even more unsettling.

    By god I even heard Spanish being spoken in that crowd. You know that subversive third world language you hear in the ghetto

    Wait, it’s not ebonics anymore? I really gotta start reading the memos.

  26. #26 |  EH | 

    It’s not really that interesting that he is a Lieutenant. Remember Anthony Bologna? It’s a trend.

  27. #27 |  Dave Krueger | 

    From philly.com:

    Josey’s friends were shocked by the video and said that it was out of character for the officer, who runs a violence-prevention program in his spare time, moonlights as an actor, is the father of a little girl and an active member of Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church.

    Josey has made headlines before. In 2006, he nominated himself to be a Daily News Sexy Single and was selected. He listed as his most outstanding feature his “charm and magnetic personality” and said he was tired of meeting women who act like girls.

  28. #28 |  llamas | 

    Note that he’s a Highway Patrol officer. And the paramilitary affectations there run extra-deep. The Foster Grants. The riding boots. The tight britches. The ’50-mission-crush’ cap, which seems to be a common affectation with police on the East Coast.

    You’d think that a person couldn’t make it to LT without learning some better self-control. And you’d double-think that an LT would be smart enough to realize that it’s a 100% certainty that he was being filmed. So the only explanation is that he lashed out without thinking. Not a sterling quality in a command officer.

    llater,

    llamas

  29. #29 |  BamBam | 

    @15, this too
    http://lewrockwell.com/grigg/grigg-w283.html

  30. #30 |  Zaphod | 

    I wish I’d never been tempted to go to PoliceOne. From the comments, it would appear that ANYTHING is a justification for sucker-punching a civilian. You stood behind a cop? Beatdown. You looked funny at a cop? Beatdown. You breathed oxygen that the cop might have needed to beat down somebody else? Beatdown.

  31. #31 |  Zargon | 

    #28

    And you’d double-think that an LT would be smart enough to realize that it’s a 100% certainty that he was being filmed. So the only explanation is that he lashed out without thinking.

    I can think of another: He thinks (very likely correctly) that he can get away with it, film or no film.

  32. #32 |  Cynic in New York | 

    “#17 | celticdragonchick
    The comments at PoliceOne on this story will make you want to gargle bleach.”

    The ones on the YouTube page are just as bad. Got to love the losers who scream illegal alien right off the bat.

  33. #33 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    When I first saw the video, I was pleasantly surprised that the cop didn’t follow-up the punch with several kicks to her head and then shoot her while his fellow cops formed a circle of protection around him so he could finish the job.

    Seriously, I was happy and surprised it didn’t get more vicious once she was on the ground.

    Oh, “It’s never OK to hit a woman.” I think I saw some politicians and celebrities in that PSA. Let’s hear from them now.

  34. #34 |  jesse | 

    So he’s “tired of meeting women that act like girls”?

    What, unable to take a punch like a man?

    Hopefully this sexy single hypocrite will have a hard time getting a date for the rest of his thuggish life.

  35. #35 |  Ghost | 

    @29,
    Will Grigg is flipping awesome. His essay on Regina Tasca hit the nail right on the head.

  36. #36 |  MikeV | 

    You have to realize this is Philly where the police are famous for giving beatings on camera.

    There was an incident a few years back where about 30 officers, including at least 3 white shirts, were filmed by a news helicopter while they beat and kicked a suspect. They were completely aware that they were being filmed by the news chopper, and it appeared that individuals were making an effort to make sure they got in their blows on camera. They had absolutely no fear of any consequences, and the only real criticism they got was for making up picture tee-shirts to celebrate it.

    A Philly favorite is the “nickel ride” where they put a handcuffed suspect in the back of a van, go real fast, and slam on the brakes so that the suspect crashes into the back of the partition. There was a suspect a few years ago who broke his neck and died from this treatment; the police claimed he fell down the stairs.

    Another favorite is to turn suspects over a “special detail” that have their badges and name plates covered with tape (so they can’t be identified) who haul the suspects to a private place and take turns beating them. Sometime they let a couple of K-9s work them over too.

    Most of these beatings follow Philly “street rules” where the cops don’t do much to you unless you break the golden rule against assaulting a cop or otherwise giving them a hard time. You can see in the video the typical response you can expect if you break that rule or if they think you did.

  37. #37 |  Weird Willy | 

    MikeZ,

    Where do you find any evidence showing or even suggesting that this woman threw something at the, ahem, “officer?” The GIF at the link you provide shows nothing more than does the original clip, which is a woman pointing at the police with the emphatic, overhead motion that is commonly performed by demonstrators. I see no evidence of any object or substance leaving her hand in that sequence. I do see what appears to be a tiny object arcing in the air just to the left of the gas station sign in the background, but find it impossible to identify that either object as a being thrown or otherwise produced from her hand. Further, the officer is obviously unaffected and unresponsive to anything this woman was doing at the point when she makes that hand gesture. He does not even look at her until much later, a moment after the man in the below-the-knee shorts throws the water and then backs away.

    If you have evidence that the woman threw something at the police officers on the scene, and in particular at her assailant, I will be happy to view it and give it fair consideration. What you have adduced to this point, however, does not demonstrate that this woman threw anything at the cops. I would agree that this point is not wholly material, because even if this woman had thrown something, this cop’s later act of criminal aggression would still warrant prosecution. But you are attempting to alter or temper our understanding of the issue, and speaking personally, I will need to see more or better evidence on the table before I accept your point.

  38. #38 |  Bergman | 

    I’m not at all surprised, given the corporate culture of the Philly police.

    This is the city where the SAME statute that gives police the legal right to carry guns in public also grants it to non-police under some circumstances. Police policy is that the law is completely absurd and invalid, so they “bust” people lawfully carrying firearms at gun point. Nevermind the irony that if the law isn’t valid, police wouldn’t be able to be armed in public either.

  39. #39 |  Clark | 

    There is law, and there is custom.

    The law may say that cops can’t beat people up except to protect self or others, but the custom is that if you run from or disrespect a cop, he gets to hurt you.

    And silly string is disrespectful.

  40. #40 |  ShelbyC | 

    “Got to love the losers who scream illegal alien right off the bat.”

    Well, in there defense it is a Puerto Rican Day parade, so it’s a safe bet that many folks there are illegal immigrants from Puerto Rico.

  41. #41 |  liberranter | 

    Josey’s friends were shocked by the video and said that it was out of character for the officer, who runs a violence-prevention program in his spare time, moonlights as an actor, is the father of a little girl and an active member of Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church.

    There you have it; all the credentials you need that the guy is a fraud and a hypocrite.

    @#38:
    Well, in there defense it is a Puerto Rican Day parade, so it’s a safe bet that many folks there are illegal immigrants from Puerto Rico.

    There’s no such thing as an “illegal” Puerto Rican, dumbass. Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory.

  42. #42 |  brian | 

    ‘Illegal immigrants from Puerto RIco’ is the funniest thing I’ve read on the internet today. They probably were ShelbyC, they probably were.

  43. #43 |  Scooby | 

    I’m going to assume that ShelbyC is a master satirist, because I’m charitable that way, and that comment is an example of Poe’s Law.

  44. #44 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    Don’t crow too loudly about the silliness of the “Illegal Puerto Rican” comment. Our immigration laws are sufficiently convoluted and asinine that while I hope you are right, it would not surprise me in the slightest to learn that you aren’t.

  45. #45 |  ShelbyC | 

    Sorry, yes, the comment was a joke. Puerto Ricans, of course are granted US citizenship at birth by statute.

  46. #46 |  Jack Dempsey | 

    I feel safer.

  47. #47 |  davepen | 

    Fired? Prosecuted? You silly Radley, you make me raff…

  48. #48 |  Marty | 

    #43- very nice! I was worried for a second.

  49. #49 |  Tim | 

    “probably prosecuted” What if she hit the cop like that? She’d be facing major jail time. I’m just sick.

  50. #50 |  Not Sure | 

    Must have been tough on the cops, there apparently being no dogs in the vicinity to shoot.

  51. #51 |  AL | 

    The comments on that YouTube video make me lose more faith in humanity than the video itself (and the video is bad too).

  52. #52 |  Whim | 

    The reaction by the other police officers was totally zombie-like. They merely circled around the Lieutenant, and showed absolutely no reaction. Psychopaths? Sociopaths?

  53. #53 |  perlhaqr | 

    I’m probably going to die violently some day. My instinctive reaction on seeing that cop punch that woman was to kick him in the face when he bent down over her. I have a feeling that will end poorly for me.

  54. #54 |  brian | 

    Sorry ShelbyC, after reading Balko for years I am willing to believe humanity capable of stunning levels of stupidity. You slipped by my radar.

  55. #55 |  llamas | 

    On a semi-related note, Detroit Police Chief Ralph Godbee suspended with pay for 30 days following disclosures of his second known affair with a married subordinate. Apparently, he behaved in some way towards his lady friend that caused her to post an image of herself on Facebook with the muzzle of her service pistol in her mouth.

    http://www.freep.com/article/20121003/NEWS01/310030118/Detroit-Police-Chief-Ralph-Godbee-Jr-suspended-amid-sex-scandal

    Questions arising

    - just how dumb do you have to be to be caught carrying on with your subordinates in this way, when you’ve already been caught and censured for it once?
    - just how dumb do you have to be, as a subordinate, to be carrying on with your superior in this way, when he’s been caught and censured for the same thing before?

    On second thoughts – I guess I’m starting to to figure out how to get ahead in the Detroit PD. Pun entirely intentional.

    And, of course, we see the usual affectations – the chief who wears five stars on his collar, and who appears at pressers in full street patrol gear, including sidearm, spare mags, two pairs of cuffs and pepper spray. Just in case e melee breaks out among the TV cameramen, I guess.

    llater,

    llamas

  56. #56 |  Aresen | 

    llamas | October 3rd, 2012 at 9:48 am

    On a semi-related note, Detroit Police Chief Ralph Godbee suspended with pay for 30 days following disclosures of his second known affair with a married subordinate. Apparently, he behaved in some way towards his lady friend that caused her to post an image of herself on Facebook with the muzzle of her service pistol in her mouth.

    It’s probably nothing compared to the furor that would have arisen if she’s posted an image of herself with his penis in her mouth.

  57. #57 |  EBL | 

    I have seen this stuff before. Cell phone cameras are certainly changing things and hopefully people wake up. I am not reflectively anti cop, but I am for holding them to professional civil standards.

  58. #58 |  MikeZ | 

    #36,
    Honestly that gesture didn’t seem like a commonly performed motion to me, especially if you couple it with the following motions after that linked gif ends. Unless my eyes are mistaken I actually see 2 things flying to the left of the gas station sign. There is a small object arcing above the crowd, but in addition there is a long stream of something that goes from her hand and extends past the hat insignia of the officer ‘dancing’ towards her. Technically there is a 3rd particle all the way on the far right (above polo shirt guy’s head) and I’ve seen it claimed this appears to match the tragectory as well, see here for a better clip:

    http://i.imgur.com/7jxLc.gif

    Personally I’d guess she did have a can of silly string or something similar, she sprayed it once then lowered her arm to shake the can to be ready for another spray or something. Of course its likely the the officer was responding to the liquid thrown by the guy in the black shirt anyway. Either way a punch seems a more than a little extreme unless it was a can of mace or something but we certainly would have heard all about that from the Police by now.

  59. #59 |  nigmalg | 

    Checking PoliceOne….

    ABORT ABORT.

  60. #60 |  liberranter | 

    @#52: Concerning your questions about the paid vacation imposed upon Detroit’s Chief Swine:

    - just how dumb do you have to be to be caught carrying on with your subordinates in this way, when you’ve already been caught and censured for it once?

    I think it’s less a matter of stupidity than of arrogance. The attitude of most of the members of the ruling classes of Amerika’s cities (or what’s left of them), especially those under the governance of the racial minority groups that are the local majority is essentially summed up as “Who’s going to hold me accountable? The voters? Are you kidding me? I’ve been robbing them blind and flouting every law imaginable for decades and yet they still keep me in office. The law? Are you kidding me? I OWN the law.”

    Unless he’s violated a favorite federal law that the USDOJ has resources to waste in prosecuting, no one at that level will hold him accountable either.

    Given these facts, is it any wonder guys in Godbee’s position raise middle fingers and do as they please?

    - just how dumb do you have to be, as a subordinate, to be carrying on with your superior in this way, when he’s been caught and censured for the same thing before?

    I’d have to say that this woman was either 1) terrified for her job and her safety, and therefore caved in to Godbee’s sexual advances (in which case he should be publicly castrated and left to bleed to death) or 2) she’s about as intelligent and morally stable as most of the rest of the rabble that inhabits Detroit and therefore represents the status quo. Either way, she probably figured that there would be no repercussions for her behavior either, so what did she have to lose?

  61. #61 |  Personanongrata | 

    Sucker Punch

    Very “professional”.

  62. #62 |  Stan | 

    Not sure it will stick, the the officer has been put on suspension with intent to dismiss him from the force.
    http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20121004_Ramsey_firing_cop_who_punched_woman_at_parade.html

  63. #63 |  MikeZ | 

    I’m betting it will stick assuming the Commissioner who is publicly firing him, comes through and gets the guy a job in the police dept. out in the country.

  64. #64 |  demize! | 

    “Anything a police department would attempt in this regard would have a “disparate” racial impact and would likely be overturned by the courts. Really, any attempt at quality control is likely to be ruled illegal.”
    Because we all know white cops are the paragon of professionalism. If you’re viewing this in terms of white and black instead of blue you’re playing for the opposing team in my opinion.

  65. #65 |  jim | 

    #40 | ShelbyC

    [i]“Got to love the losers who scream illegal alien right off the bat.”

    Well, in there defense it is a Puerto Rican Day parade, so it’s a safe bet that many folks there are illegal immigrants from Puerto Rico.[i/]

    Shelby, Puerto Rico is a territory of the US and Puerto Ricans became U.S. citizens in 1917. So, fail for you.

Leave a Reply