A YouTube video showing two Philadelphia police officers detaining and interrogating two men has sparked an internal police investigation. The controversial 16-minute video was recorded on a cell phone. The officer in charge, Phillip Nace of the 25th District of Philadelphia, appeared to believe that he had shut off the device. Nace threatened violence against the detainees, while also accusing them of drug trafficking. The officer used derogatory language in the video, which is entitled ‘Police unlawful harassment and racial profiling,’ even while the color or race of the detainees is unclear.
Supposedly captured on September 27, the video starts as two officers in the suburbs of north Philadelphia pull up in their cruiser next to two men. The officers proceeded to ask the men why they were talking to another man on the street. In the video, Officer Nace gets out of his car and approaches the two men and says, “You don't say hi to strangers.”
One of the men detained switched on his cellphone, which was then placed on the hood of the police cruiser. The device captured a voice-only recording of the officers attempting to explain they are within their rights to stop and search whomever they want. The two detained men insisted that they had done nothing wrong.
The officer claimed to have seen the men jaywalking, while also claiming that they “may” have received a call concerning a robbery involving two men matching their description.
In the YouTube video, an exchange between Officer Nace and one of the detained parties goes like this:
Officer Nace: You asked me why I stopped you, I said how 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?
Man: You accusing me of robbing someone?'
Officer Nace: 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?
Officer Nace also allegedly threatened violence in the video. He said “Don't fucking play though, you'll be on the same f---ing block as him. We'll kick your ass too.”
When the two officers involved appear to seize one of the men, Officer Nace is heard to say “You're gonna be in violation if you keep running your mouth when I split your wig open.”
The two officers also appear to discuss arresting the two men because they do not happen to like them. “You should take that one just for his friggin' big mouth,” on officer is heard to say, while the other replies “Well they crossed the street on a red light, so...” Later on, one of the officers appears to taunt on of the men, “Well then don't come to fucking Philadelphia, stay in Jersey.” The detained man replied, “I have family out here.” In the response, the cop said, “Yeah well then don't come over here, we don't want you here anyway, all you do is weaken the fucking country.”
“Yeah? I weaken the country? How I weaken the country? By working?,” replies the man. “No, freeloading,” replies the officer. When the man under arrest explained that he works as a server at a country club, the officer retorts, “Serving weed?”
According to a police spokesperson, the Philadelphia police internal affairs unit is investigating the incident but will not rely on the video to draw its conclusions. In 2012, police Lieutenant Jonathan Josey was fired when a YouTube video showed him punching a woman in the face and knocking her to the ground. Jonathan is now back on the job.