Home / ACLU Files Two Additional Lawsuits Against Philadelphia Police

ACLU Files Two Additional Lawsuits Against Philadelphia Police

Philadelphia_Police_Department_patch

The ACLU of Pennsylvania is living up to its promise of suing the Philadelphia Police Department for arresting citizens attempting to observe or record them in public.

That’s right, police are no longer just singling out citizens with cameras. They are arresting citizens who are simply standing there watching them.

In January, the ACLU filed the first of what they promised would be a series of lawsuits.

Last week, they filed two more: one on behalf of Coulter Loeb, a photojournalism student who was arrested after he photographed police moving a homeless woman out of a park; the other on behalf of  Alexine Fleck, a college professor who didn’t even have a camera as she observed cops making an arrest.

According to an ACLU press release:

On the morning of June 15, 2011, Fleck was walking down her block on her way to work when she noticed a police officer standing over a semi-conscious man sitting on a stoop. Concerned about the officer’s aggressive manner, Fleck stopped to observe the interaction. Fleck complied with the officer’s order to step back ten steps. She was then asked to leave the area. When she refused to leave and explained that she was merely observing, she was arrested.

Ms. Fleck was handcuffed behind her back, even after she advised the officer that her shoulder was injured and to have both arms pulled behind her back would cause her great pain.

Fleck was transported to the police precinct and held for three hours. She remained cuffed, in pain, for the entire time. She also was not allowed to notify colleagues that she would be unable to teach her class that morning. Fleck was charged with failure to disperse. The charges were later dismissed in Community Court.

Last month, the Philadelphia Police Department dished out a $75,000 settlement to the woman who was punched in the face by a cop in an incident caught on video.

About Carlos Miller

Carlos Miller is founder and publisher of Photography is Not a Crime, which began as a one-man blog in 2007 to document his trial after he was arrested for photographing police during a journalistic assignment. He is also the author of The Citizen Journalist's Photography Handbook, which can be purchased through Amazon.
  • JustaVetSailorfromPennsylvania

    The spirit of Frank Rizzo lives on in Philadelphia though the actions of the Badged Uniformed Fascist Thugs incorrectly called by some the Police

    • Dan Matthews

      Change that to “Fleece.”

      • JustaVetSailorfromPennsylvania

        Some call them Police, most call them the Fleece

  • $22798478

    FUCKUPIGS !

  • Colin

    It a shame that Philadelphia, the ‘cradle of freedom’ has fallen so low.

  • Bill Gray

    the sarcasm is strong in this student

  • Jim Morriss

    Can we all agree now that the LEOs are going to keep on getting worse and trying different laws until they find one that they can twist to the right shape to hold a body. This needs to be nipped in the bud. These guys are bullies and bullies think anything other than aggression is weakness.

  • Smith

    We need to start attacking police pension funds. That’s the only way to stop corruption.

    • http://excoplawstudent.wordpress.com/ ExCop-LawStudent

      On what grounds? I would love to hear your theory of liability.

      • Ernie Menard

        “On what grounds? I would love to hear your theory of liability.”
        Well, we’d need some legislation to establish the liability.

        • http://excoplawstudent.wordpress.com/ ExCop-LawStudent

          You and I know that, I was curious on how Mr. Smith thought he could get there.

  • http://lorenbliss.typepad.com lorenbliss

    I speak from experience when I say it cannot be an accident this sort of thing is happening throughout the United States. I covered cops during a journalism career that spanned half a century — police officers and detectives in New York City and New Jersey as well as in Tennessee and Washington state.

    While there are probably a few malfeasants in any given department, most cops are dedicated civil servants performing a dangerous, difficult job in obedience to established law and departmental regulations. The key word here is of course “obedience” — specifically the fact the cops would not be waging war on photographers (and on the working press in general) had they not been ordered to do so.

    Moreover, the nation-wide character of this war against public scrutiny of police activities — and a war is precisely what it is — indicates the existence of a nation-wide (and probably secret) directive mandating the suppression of all such scrutiny. This would be a logical precursor to the imposition of the zero-tolerance dictatorship long feared by political dissidents of both Rightist and Leftist persuasions.

    Under the new imperial paradigm of U.S. governance — the Patriot Act, the National Defense Authorization Act, etc. ad nauseam — all local police departments have effectively been reduced to subordinates of the Department of Homeland Security.

    Not coincidentally, the authority and organizational structure of DHS is reliably said to be patterned after the notorious SS-Reichssicherheitshauptamt or RSHA, the security department of the Third Reich.

    Now, as the U.S. moves ever closer to becoming a de facto Fourth Reich — note the ever-expanding surveillance that afflicts us all — it seems well worth asking if such an anti-scrutiny order has in fact been issued by DHS.

    Journalists and other interested parties — Communications Workers of America AFL/CIO, the National Press Photographers Association and the like — should therefore be deluging DHS with appropriately worded freedom-of-information requests.

    • http://excoplawstudent.wordpress.com/ ExCop-LawStudent

      I was following and agreeing with you until Godwin’s Law of Nazi Analogies kicked in.

      • StreyDawg

        Here we go again….

        ….”Godwin’s Law” is not a law. Even Godwin says that.

        • http://excoplawstudent.wordpress.com/ ExCop-LawStudent

          Gee, I guess someone should have told the Oxford English Dictionary, 3d ed., 2012.

          They list the term.

          Thanks for playing.

          • JdL

            Gee, I guess someone should have told the Oxford English Dictionary, 3d ed., 2012.

            They list the term.

            See my response above (now below; comments get scrambled here).

            Thanks for playing.

            Oh, how clever! Too bad your attempts at infinite condescension fall completely flat. As Maxwell Smart said, “Missed it by THAT much!”

          • Fotaugrafee

            We call people like him a “pseudo intellectual”. :D

          • StreyDawg

            So is the word “unicorn.”

            Doesn’t make them real.

      • http://lorenbliss.typepad.com lorenbliss

        Given how the United States in both governmental and corporate forms embraced innumerable Nazi war criminals after World War II, and given the common fantasy uniting all these escapees from Soviet firing squads was creation of a Fourth Reich through their USian saviors, the Nazi analogy is entirely appropriate. While I have not the time tonight to present a suitable bibliography, a place to start would be the Bankers Plot of 1934, which was either hatched in — or with the active cooperation of — what in those days were known to the Left as “the Beasts of Berlin.” The plot failed, but the plotters never gave up, and their descendants have now effectively not only murdered the so-called American Dream but have slain, forever, the American experiment in constitutional governance. With all due respect, I assume you are relatively young, hence have not witnessed, as people my age have, the prolonged boiled-frog process that began literally within hours of the pivotal events of 22 November 1963 and over the next decades changed this country from the best most promising nation on the planet to what it is today: a de facto slave state, in which more than half the population lives in genuine (as opposed to statistical) poverty, oppressed by the most savage income-versus-cost-of-living ratios, the worst health care, the worst schools, the most lax workplace protections, and the most ineffective environmental protections in the industrial world, a realm so viciously governed it contains not only the largest prison population in today’s world but the largest prison population in human history. Factor in its wars of imperial acquisition, it becomes obvious the U.S. is not analogous to a Fourth Reich; it IS the Fourth Reich. I am thankful I am old, for the only remaining question is when the mass arrests will begin.

        • JdL

          Excellent response. ExCop (but still obviously a cop at heart), do you have anything else to say?

          • Jefft90

            Really? He just threw in the Kennedy Assassination, next will be the “Moon Landings” were a fake, propagated by the
            Xenu in collaboration with the Free Masons.

          • http://lorenbliss.typepad.com lorenbliss

            Apropos the murder of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy, I strongly urge you — and anyone else who doubts it was the end of the American experiment in constitutional governance — to read JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters, James W. Douglass, Orbis Books: 2008. This is not another conspiranoid whodunnit. Douglass makes his case by historical analysis. He documents the radical turnabouts in policy that began literally within hours of the assassination. Moreover he shows how these changes led directly to the United States of today — its people more savagely oppressed than anyone else in the industrial world.

          • Jefft90

            Not only does Mr. Douglas think that JFK was killed by some vast conspiracy but Gandhi, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., and Robert
            Kennedy were all killed for the same reason. He is also one of the founders of Religious Leaders for 911 Truth. If it helps you sleep at
            night knowing that Montgomery Burns and the Stonecutters are to blame for all the worlds’ trouble all I can say is, God Bless.

            The Stonecutter theme song:

            Who controls the British crown? Who keeps the metric system down? We do, we do!

            Who keeps Atlantis off the maps? Who keeps the Martians under raps? We do, we do!

            Who holds back the electric car? Who makes Steve Guttenberg a star? We do, we do!

            Who robs cavefish of their sight? Who rigs every Oscar night? We do, we do, we do!’

          • http://lorenbliss.typepad.com lorenbliss

            What helps me sleep at night is knowing the influence of your lot is at last on the wane. Thank you for the tacit admission of who and what you are.

          • Jefft90

            Your welcome, but I feel that I should point out the inconsistence between your previous statements

            Now, as the U.S. moves ever closer to becoming a de facto Fourth Reich — note the ever-expanding surveillance that afflicts us all — it seems well worth asking if such an anti-scrutiny order has in fact been issued by DHS.

            its people more savagely oppressed than anyone else in the industrial world.

            And

            Your last.
            influence of your lot is at last on the wane.

          • http://lorenbliss.typepad.com lorenbliss

            No inconsistency at all. The influence of advocates of oppression — even the influence of those who most carefully disguise their oppressive intent (as with assertions like “mission accomplished” or slogans like “change we can believe in”) — is indeed waning. In fact its waning is proportional to the extent we the people are (finally) awakening to the tyranny of the One Percent. But “awakening” is not a synonym for liberation. Indeed — given realpolitik (historical conditions plus the technological omnipotence of the economic aristocracy and the governments that serve and protect it) — such an awakening is undoubtedly a prelude to intensifying oppression. The underlying purpose of the total-surveillance state (and the simultaneous suppression of all independent sources of information) is to defend the One Percent against just such a raising of public consciousness. That’s why the surveillance state’s creation — note for example how Janet Reno’s defeated crime bill virtually duplicated the Patriot Act — was proposed long before 9/11. Thus it is obvious things will get worse — much, much worse — and may never get better.Most scientists now believe our species has doomed itself to extinction. This means the oppressive acts by which the One Percent is attempting to perpetuate itself in the face of looming environmental apocalypse are effectively forever. The suppression of journalism and journalists is but a symptom — albeit a very telling symptom — of an infinitely greater atrocity.

          • steveo

            Unfortunately, still a theory. 1) Most people approve ot the NSA surveillance 2) 95% of drivers stopped by police consent to a search of their persons and car 3) It’s rare when people record their own police encounters/traffic stops 4) 95% of jurors said that they would believe a cop over a defendant. 5) most criminals want to tell the police what they did, so 90% are convicted by what comes out of their own mouths.

          • http://excoplawstudent.wordpress.com/ ExCop-LawStudent

            Gee, I thought that you couldn’t sleep. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gKpTTqM1n50

          • Fotaugrafee

            Yup, a lazy, ignorant git. :D

          • Fotaugrafee

            I agree with you Loren, but if you were to cry “oppression” in many parts (i.e. red states) of this wonderful country, the same ignorant jackasses would tell you to “find somewhere else or stop complaining”. Same attitude that has beheaded union labor, in that complaining (i.e. fighting for your rights) is a lost art. People in this country just don’t do it anymore. They’re complicit, via their ignorance, in the downfall of the American dream.

          • http://lorenbliss.typepad.com lorenbliss

            Well said. Someday — if there are ever again any real historians allowed to write real histories — it will be noted the death of the Guild was also the death of U.S. journalism. Just as the death of the labor movement in general was the death not only of the American Dream, but of the entire American experiment in constitutional governance.

        • http://excoplawstudent.wordpress.com/ ExCop-LawStudent

          I don’t debate the tinfoil behatted.

          • http://lorenbliss.typepad.com lorenbliss

            Debate? Who’s debating? A debate requires knowledgeable adversaries.

          • http://excoplawstudent.wordpress.com/ ExCop-LawStudent

            Exactly.

            Let me know if you get any knowledge that isn’t due to the tinfoil hat you wear.

          • tiny

            your nothing but a clown, dance clown, dance!

          • http://excoplawstudent.wordpress.com/ ExCop-LawStudent

            LOL, from someone who has no comprehension of either spelling or grammar….

      • JdL

        I was following and agreeing with you until Godwin’s Law of Nazi Analogies kicked in.

        It’s just a little too convenient to dismiss someone because he’s mentioned the N-word (Nazi).

        If the U.S. really is going down the path of Nazi Germany (and I’m afraid it is), then apparently people like you think they can deny it, and dismiss the speaker, just by screaming “Godwin’s Law! Godwin’s Law!”.

        Godwin himself clarified, in an exchange with Glenn Greenwald a year or two ago, that his “Law” was NOT meant to imply that comparisons between governments and Nazi Germany are invalid, only that they’re inevitable, whether or not they’re valid. Just type Godwin Greenwald into google if you’re interested. Warning: this might impair some of your knee-jerk responses to people you don’t like, so might not be something you want to do.

        • http://excoplawstudent.wordpress.com/ ExCop-LawStudent

          See my answer below.

    • StreyDawg

      Since these “most cops” who are allegedly “dedicated civil servants” never seem to lift a finger to challenge the growing epidemic of corruption and anti-liberty behavior in modern law enforcement, I tend to think they are about as real as Bigfoot and unicorns.

      • OzCop

        So BusPass, is it your contention that good cops do not exist? No cop is a dedicated civil servant? As a 27 year career officer in a 500+ man PD, I can assure the rogue cops make up a very minor percentage of those who swore to uphold the laws of the land. I can also assure you that dedicated officers do indeed “lift a finger” to help nab those who tend to break the law…Your fingers, guided by a lame brain, typed a check you can’t cash…

        • Freedom_Fighter_of_America

          Just because you can “assure” something doesn’t mean you can. Now whos fingers are typing a check they can’t cash. This is a rampid problem. 5-6 officers of one department alone who managed to get caught killing a homeless man. That’s a high percentage for one department. And that’s just those who managed to get caught. This minor percentage bull crap you speak of is just your blue wall of silence bull shit.

          • OzCop

            So show me some stats…You say ALL cops are bad…show me some proof…
            OTH, forget it…I don’t argue with cop haters…you are less than significant to me…fool…

          • Nemo

            Oz, how many of those “bad apples” have you arrested? How many have you testified against? How many “professional courtesies” did you grant? If you knew that there were cops who broke the law, and looked the other way, for things that you’d bust a normal citizen for, then you are indeed a “Bad cop”.

            That’s not “hate”, that’s Truth. When cops allow cops to dodge the Law to a greater extent than they’d allow the citizen body to do so, then they are, by definition, “bad cops”.

            Unless, of course, you think that cops should be held to a lower standard. My guess that for routine matters, this is the case with you, and that if you’ve arrested any fellow cops, it has been only for the most egregious of crimes. For everything else, you’ve likely had the blinders on.

          • JdL

            So show me some stats…You say ALL cops are bad…show me some proof…

            I will acknowledge this: there is no comprehensive study of cops all across the nation that lays out percentages of bad vs. good cops. Such a study is urgently needed. Let’s get real, however, how would a researcher determine the true nature of a particular police force? This is something that criminal cops don’t exactly advertise, especially when they know they need to put on a beatific public face.

            I will also say that I’m sure there are a few Mayberry’s out there, somewhere. I don’t know how many. But, increasingly, police all across the nation have been, and are continuing to be, corrupted into secretive “Us vs. Them” forces arrayed against citizens. If you deny this, then YOU are the “fool”.

          • Difdi

            I can’t find the URL at the moment, but I read a comparison a few months back, of arrest rates between police officers and the general public.

            The study didn’t go into conviction rates, severity of sentences or whether charges were dropped, just arrest rates per 100,000 individuals.

            Given how reluctant police tend to be to arrest fellow officers, the fact that police were within a point or two of the general public for almost every crime on the books is alarming. The fact that police officers have almost three times the arrest rate for sexual assault than the general public does is even more so.

            Giving police the benefit of the doubt, my interpretation of that would be that sexual assault is beyond the pale, so it isn’t subject to that reluctance to be disloyal to fellow officers. The other possible interpretation would be that there are an awful lot of rapists in uniform.

          • Freedom_Fighter_of_America

            Now you are saying I said something I didn’t. I never said all cops. Go back and read. I just said its a rampid problem. So your obvious attempts at twisting and putting words into peoples mouth destroys your character and anything you say in the future is nothing by meaningless dribble as you lost all credibility. There’s too much proof that this is not some minor percentage. Too many videos and too many times the police clearing themselves of wrong doing.. Covering up makes you just as bad as the person who committed the crime.

          • Flashing Scotsman

            Rampid?

          • Fotaugrafee

            Give it time, you will ALL be recorded eventually, especially when you fuck up. We’ll be there, with cameras blazing, ready to make an ass out of you on whatever social media site is available to us.

          • Difdi

            There are very few cop haters here. But just because someone has a uniform and a badge doesn’t preclude the possibility they are a criminal. If badges made it impossible to be a criminal, no police department would have an internal affairs branch.

            Most of the people here who come across as cop haters actually hate criminals, not cops. Given the topic of the blog, we just rarely hear about cops who are not criminals. Most of us consider oath-breaking cops to be lower than normal criminals — for a cop to become a criminal he must break his sworn oath AND the law, while a criminal merely breaks the law.

          • http://excoplawstudent.wordpress.com/ ExCop-LawStudent

            Actually, compared to the general population, the number of cop-haters here is above the average.

            Excepting of course Difdi, who, according to one of the cop-haters loves the po-po and makes excuses for them.

            hehehehe

            I’m still chuckling about that…

        • Fotaugrafee

          OK, and what are you doing to stop them? Are you protecting them like a good union brother? Or doing your part to make sure ‘the business’ isn’t made a mockery of when some back of shit cop goes popping off & arresting / assaulting people with whom they have an obvious problem? I’m a pro-labor, union proud worker (in my industry), but you have take the trash out every once in a while. Do your part, enforce THE LAW (not the ones you made up), and keep the shit off my Wheaties.

        • Difdi

          If a coworker at the shop I work at brags to me about how he totally got away with assault & battery on his day off, and I do nothing, I can get in trouble for not reporting it. Especially if I know he’s doing it over and over again. If I know that a family member has robbed a convenience store and I don’t report it, I can get in serious legal trouble.

          If I witness a crime being committed by a stranger and don’t report it, I could get in some trouble. If I help the stranger cover it up afterward I’d definitely be in legal trouble.

          In all of those cases I’d become a criminal by not acting when I became aware of someone else’s crime. Even if I were honestly unaware that any of those things were crimes, it would not stop a prosecutor from filing charges against me.

          But many police officers do all of those things, often without knowledge that they are illegal. I (or any other private citizen) am expected to be educated on the law (ignorance is not an excuse), and to take action when I become aware a crime has been committed — yet a private citizen is not sworn to enforce and/or uphold the law.

          Sworn police officers are regularly held to a lower standard for both education on the law and obedience to it than people who are not sworn and not law enforcement personnel.

          Very few if any police departments would survive being scrutinized through the lens provided by the RICO Act. Very few individual officers would stay out of prison if they were judged by the same standards of what makes a co-conspirator or accomplice as private citizens are judged by.

    • Fotaugrafee

      Well spoken, sir!

  • Farid Rushdi

    I don’t know if police laugh when their internal tribunals find their officers do no wrong after they beat the crap out of a person or they really believe they are being fair.

    A policeman in Dayton stopped a 17-year-old riding a bike. The kid tried to explain he had a bad speech impediment and couldn’t communicate. The police officer said he was “disrespecting” him. He chased him home, hitting him and tasering him. Neighbors tried to tell him the boy had troubles and he threatened to arrest the neighbors if they didn’t back in the house.

    The charges against the boy (resisting, typical crap) were dismissed quickly, and *wait for it* a review board found the officers did no wrong.

    The city settled with the family.

    It seems that every time a police department finds “no wrong doing,” the city sighs and gets out their checkbook.

    Why does this vicious circle continue?

    • JdL

      Why does this vicious circle continue?

      Because the American public, as a whole, have entirely failed to meet their obligation as citizens to keep criminal cops in check. I think that may be changing, however, as evidenced by cops like Oz ratcheting up their screaming.

      • Fotaugrafee

        But they’ll keep bitching about rising taxes (which in turn support such criminal organizations such as our domestic Gestapo), and will blame their anti-party of choice for said increase in taxes.

  • thetruthmaster1

    A few weeks without pay might put a dent in this Rogue Cop mentality. 3 strikes you are fired.

    • Fotaugrafee

      There should be some kind of legit scale of discipline, especially when these events make it to the public eye. Regardless what a tribunal thinks based on the evidence presented to them, if there is misconduct, it is a strike…PERIOD. Use a non-affiliate law board for each instance & make sure the discipline goes on public record (since they are, after all, public servants). When they reach Strike #3, for ANY period of time, they should be deemed incorrigible & shown the fucking door.

  • Difster

    Arresting people for watching. Secret police anyone?

  • Mark Olish

    The real problem is that are are no real consequences when the cops pull this schutzstaffel BS. Any of the court cases always boil down to a monetary awards paid for by the taxpaying public. No skin off the offending cops nose. Nothing will change till it actually costs the police . How about incarceration in general population.? That would put a permanent pucker in their sphincters . Not quite so severe for the squeamish would be to take the money right out of the officers pay, from top to bottom, in the form of a garnishment . Every cop on the force pay garnished by one third till the awards are paid off would get their notice as well.

  • Dan Matthews

    What are the elected Congressmen/Representatives of Pennsylvania doing about this? Don’t they have aids that are supposed to bring transgressions like this to their attention so they can challenge it?
    Oh, wait, there’s the catch, they are “elected” and can’t do without the support of their fellow, less than honest, supporters.

  • Jude I⚡caяiot

    Ah yes, failure to disperse… Because cops can tell you when and where you can be.

  • Rufus McGufus

    Spot on.

  • Fotaugrafee

    I agree 100%, but we need to start petitioning this to our Congressman & Senators in order to get it passed. And the way that is going, I’m sure they’re not about to slap the po-po’s wrist for alleged wrongdoing.

    YouTube videos & education like PINAC doles out are the best form of power to the people. When the people finally wake the fuck up & FORCE their politicians to do something, then we’ll see change.

  • Joel Turner

    A law suit on behalf of the citizens of the city for payroll fraud against the officers is the answer.

  • steveo

    I must have missed the decree about travel permits. I’ll need to apply for mine. Can you get them if you’re a jew or a catholic?

  • Seeker103

    I would like to see how one person can disperse. It must be a real mess.

  • Difdi

    Yeah, unless you’re Dracula.

  • tiny

    no, if your a jew, just report to the gas chamber, gassing will continue in a few moments, that you for your patience! [think about if hitler had micro waves!]

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