Police Abuse

Philly Cops Charged in Brutality Incident After Victim's Girlfriend Did Some Investigating of Her Own to Get Authorities Started

A year and a half after the incident, the two cops were charged and suspended with intent to dismiss.

|

via Philly.com

Two Philadelphia police officers, Sean McKnight and Kevin Robinson, were arrested last week on charges of assault, criminal conspiracy, reckless endangerment, tampering with public records, making false reports, obstructing the administration of law, and official oppression. The charges stem from a May 2013 incident in which pulled over resident Najee Rivera while he was riding a motorized scooter. Rivera allegedly fled, and cops are accused of pursuing him without using their sirens or lights and then violently beating him after catching him.

The Philadelphia police accepted the cops' version of events, which accused Rivera of assaulting them and resisting arrest, and that would've been that but for his sleuthing girlfriend.

Philly.com reports:

"As soon as I picked him up, we went right over there," [Rivera's girlfriend Dina] Scannapieco said. He was in a hospital gown covered in blood.

Eventually the couple made it to the 2700 block of North Sixth Street, where he had been arrested the night before—and where two officers were saying Rivera had thrown one of them into a brick wall.

The two, she said, saw where he was arrested.

"You seen all his blood all over the pavement," she said…

After seeing the blood, Scannapieco began asking questions.

She eventually found surveillance video, at a barber shop-auto detailing business on the block, that would exonerate Rivera and lead to the arrest of the officers who prosecutors say beat him without provocation and then falsely arrested him.

By August 2013, charges against Rivera were dropped and the cops began to be investigated. A year and a half later, after a grand jury found the bulk of their statements false and they face formal charges, the police department has suspended McKnight and Robinson with "intent to dismiss."  Police say they could not have started an investigation against themselves immediately at the time absent an official complaint. That hurdle has now been removed, and the Philadelphia police commissioner Charles Ramsey says in hindsight police should have canvassed the area after Rivera's arrest.

At least one of the officers, Robinson, has been previously accused of police brutality while making a false arrest. He was sued in 2012 and the city settled for $125,000. He remained on the force.

NEXT: A. Barton Hinkle: The Case Against Convening a New Constitutional Convention

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. When will they ever learn… This is awful that it happened, but serendipitous that there was footage. Not everyone is as lucky.

    1. That’s why a gas station is a good place to stop. Plenty of cameras.

      1. how long before they start marketing that along with clean restrooms?

        “Get pulled over here- we’ll have evidence of when they beat you.”

  2. “…in hindsight police should have canvassed the area after…”

    Does anyone else read that as “covered their tracks”?

    1. *raises hand*

      1. Is “canvassed the area” code for “disposing of video evidence”?

        1. This is clearly a call for more training to help officers understand when to have their cameras mysteriously malfunction and turn themselves off.

    2. Pretty much.

    3. “…in hindsight, police should have thrown a canvas sack over his head…”

    4. Exactly. Canvass the area to seize surveillance video.

    5. No, I read it as, “coverup”.

  3. It’s easy to tell if cops are lying about an incident. If they make any effort at all to obtain or show video or audio or pictures that will prove things went down like they said, they are probably mostly telling the truth. If they say any evidence has been mysteriously deleted or make absolutely no effort to find any, they’re almost assuredly lying.

    commissioner Charles Ramsey says in hindsight police should have canvassed the area after Rivera’s arrest

    Uh huh. I wonder why you didn’t then? Oh look, it follows the exact pattern outlined above.

    1. If it exonerates, it’s on the news by the end of the business day.

      1. “If the video is the shit, you must acquit!”

    2. Dang it Epi, you beat me by six minutes.

      I really need to read the posts/refresh the screen before I comment.

  4. “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority, still more when you superadd the tendency or the certainty of corruption by authority. There is no worse heresy than that the office sanctifies the holder of it.”

    – Lord Acton

    Dude wrote that like over 100 years ago and shit, so invalid.

    1. All governments suffer a recurring problem: Power attracts pathological personalities. It is not that power corrupts but that it is magnetic to the corruptable. Such people have a tendency to become drunk on violence, a condition to which they are quickly addicted.
      Frank Herbert

      1. I’ll add that ‘democracy’ as a mechanism for distributing power, selects for and promotes pathological personalities. Democracy is a contest between patholigical personalities and the winnder is whomever lies, cheats, steals and kills the most discretely and with the most perceived legitimacy.

        1. The skills required to win an election don’t necessarily translate into the skills necessary to govern.

          In the early part of this country, it was considered unseemly to seek nomination. The office sought the man, not the other way around. My how that has changed.

        2. We don’t live in a democracy, and never have.

  5. At least one of the officers, Robinson, has been previously accused of police brutality while making a false arrest.

    Oh, please. Anyone could make the same horrible mistake multiple times.

  6. that’ll teach him and ALL his “fine” young cannibal pals to ride about on motorized scooters…..

  7. I wish I could say that I was surprised by the cops behavior…. but oddly, I am not.

    Funny that.

    BTW:

    WINNING!!!
    SMOOOCHES!!!

    hth

  8. This was all over the news in Philly. Let’s hope it isn’t a one and done attempt to show bad police behavior is a thing of the past.

    1. “Somethin something… a few bad apples… mumble mumble… procedures and training have been updated… blah blah blah… nothing more to see here…”

    2. “This is truly an historic day. Now that we’ve passed the ‘Police Are Your Friends Act’, there’s no need for further ill-will, protest or disruption towards our brave men and women in the police department. Anyone found to be protesting the police will be fingerbanged, jailed and fingerbanged again, pursuant to the Police Are Your Friends Act.”

  9. …in hindsight police should have canvassed the area after Rivera’s arrest.

    Why would they? They had two uniformed officers on the scene who had witnessed the whole thing.

  10. oh, and a barber shop-auto detailing business? Fucking Philadelphia.

    1. Now see I read that and thought “Only in America. I love this country.”

  11. Two Philadelphia police officers, Sean McKnight and Kevin Robinson, were arrested last week on charges of assault, criminal conspiracy, reckless endangerment, tampering with public records, making false reports, obstructing the administration of law, and official oppression for being cops

    FTFY.

  12. Police say they could not have started an investigation against themselves immediately at the time absent an official complaint.

    Police say they would not enforce the law on their own ranks unless forced by circumstance.

  13. I wouldn’t hold out much hope here. Philadelphia is the city where a bunch of cops were caught running an armed robbery ring while on the clock and didn’t get fired.

  14. my buddy’s mom makes $86 an hour on the computer . She has been out of a job for 5 months but last month her check was $15207 just working on the computer for a few hours. site here…………….
    ????? http://www.netcash50.com

  15. Philadelphia police commissioner Charles Ramsey says in hindsight police should have canvassed the area after Rivera’s arrest.

  16. “Police say they could not have started an investigation against themselves immediately at the time absent an official complaint.”

    Seems to me they left out the fact that they have no intent of ever starting an investigation unless forced too, just like every other PD across the US. The legal system is corrupt from top to bottom.

    Najee Rivera is fortunate those pigs didn’t murder him. I hope those pigs get at least 10 years in prison with no chance of parole and daily gang rapes.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.