Occupy Philly stages rally in Northwest Philly over police conduct
January 22, 2012By Vanessa Martinez for NewsWorks
More than 20 people staged a march in Northwest Philadelphia Saturday afternoon to call attention to their claims of police brutality.
The march was organized in support of Florence Mason – a woman evicted from 160 E. Meehan Avenue in Mt. Airy. Her home was a rallying point on Nov 29 by Occupy Philadelphia as an example of what organizers said was a wrongful eviction.
Mason alleges in a complaint to the city that 14th District police officers assaulted some of her children during an eviction on September 1. Mason alleges that her children were handcuffed including her two youngest, Sherriah, 11, and Clifton, 13. She also claims that Vincent, Jr., 20, and Clifton were punched while in handcuffs. Mason was at the Commonwealth Court when the alleged brutalities occurred. Neighbors who wished to remain anonymous, alleged they saw police slam her autistic son, Tyral, in the head as they stuffed him into the police car without arrest.
Captain Joel Dales from the 14th Police District told NewsWorks that all the officers involved are very professional and had a hard time believing the allegations were accurate. "These officers who were involved, especially Lt. Whaley is a very thorough officer. He checks everything. He's very professional. He's the same as me. He would not jeopardize his career to entertain any police corruption or police misconduct."
Captain Dales added that he would make sure an investigation on the alleged police brutality would be completed.
The march that began at the home on Meehan Avenue, spanned Germantown Avenue and culminated outside the 14th police district where several officers lined the entrance and listened to the protestors voice their outrage.
"Why are you as officers still holding the badge when you're just as criminal as the people in the streets?" Mason shouted over the megaphone to the officers. "You're acting like the gang members you're arresting."
Philadelphia Police Department weekend commander, Christopher Flacco said in response to the march that the protestors had the "right to practice their first amendment right."