Thursday, April 05, 2007


Angel Rodriguez, 19, a guardsman who is slated to ship out to Afghanistan in November, received a sprained ankle and facial bruises when at least five Philadelphia cops barged into his home, wrecked his video camera and confiscated film he had taken of the cops and neighbors fighting. He was taping what he thought was police brutality.

All this happened as Philadelphia police commissioner and top commanders patrolled the streets hoping to curb some of the violence that has killed more than 100 people there this year.

Over the weekend, the city surpassed 100 murders when police found a 40-year-old woman dead in Kensington with her head covered in a plastic bag.

In addition, three men, ages 24 to 50, were shot and killed.

When asked about the surging murder count, Philadelphia, Mayor John Street said, "Well, I mean there are a number of things that go into the homicide rate," responded the Mayor. "There…this is…this is a social problem."

One major social concern within the city, reports the on-line Post Chroncile, is poverty. Philadelphia's poverty rate is the highest of any major U.S. city. To add to this, Philadelphia is overwhelmed with illegal weapons.

"It's a war going on," said Donald Cave, who spoke during a gathering at Longstreth Elementary School in Southwest Philadelphia Sunday night. It's gotten so bad, Cave said, that his brother in Iraq recently contacted him to ask, "Do you need me to send you anything?"

As for the case of the guy with the camera beaten by the same police out to "protect" the city, the Philadelphia Daily News says several Internal Affairs investigators went to the scene of the beating, and Chief Inspector Colarulo returned again last night.

"There's going to be a thorough investigation," Colarulo told Rodriguez's family.

"There will be no cover-ups."

There never are, of course.

The following is from NBC News 10 in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia Man Says Police Beat Him For Taping Brutality

PHILADELPHIA -- Angel Rodriguez told NBC 10 that he needs crutches to get around because at about 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, police beat him and broke his ankle.

"I was right here looking down right in front of the house," Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez said police were on his block making a drug arrest, but then he started videotaping what he thought turned into police brutality.

"There was like five cops on each person. They had the one lady on the floor they was kicking her and the other guy they had handcuffed against the car and they were beating him with the sticks," Rodriguez said.

The 19-year-old Army reservist said police saw him videotaping and rushed into his Lippincott Street home without a warrant.

He said within minutes, he went from being a witness to a victim.

"The one cop came punched me in my mouth then they threw me on the floor. After they were done smashing the camera then they hit me with the night stick," Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez showed NBC 10 the camera he said damaged when the police ripped out the videotape.

"They left the camera here in pieces and took the tape with them," Rodriguez said.

Police officials at the 24 District confirmed to NBC 10 that they made several arrests near Rodriguez's home Tuesday night.

Police also confirmed that Rodriguez was not arrested, and NBC 10 was there when internal affairs detectives combed the neighborhood investigating the allegations.

Luis Melendez, Rodriguez's brother, said he was home at the time, and the incident has left him with a bad impression about police.

"The cops go on the news every night and we hear about how they need citizens to help them make these streets better and get guns off the streets but they're out here beating up citizens," Melendez said.

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