NORTH PHILADELPHIA (FOX 29) - The president of the NAACP Philadelphia branch is the latest to condemn a video showing a city highway patrol officer arresting a woman, then throwing her to the ground.
“We, from our examination, saw this as completely unnecessary,” says Minister Rodney Muhammad. “We’re concerned about policing and how one encounter of something like this could’ve turned deadly.”
According to the video, a young woman is handcuffed with a police officer from Highway Patrol Division standing behind her.
She swears, demands he “get off her” and threatens to spit on him. That’s when the video shows the officer using one hand to grab her by the hair in the other and his feet to take her to the street.
Francisco Harris shot the video Wednesday afternoon at 2 p.m. at the corner of West Dauphin Street and North Colorado Street.
“No matter how people sound you should only be concerned with what they’re able to do,” says Minister Muhammad. “This young girl was not able to do anything that would be a threat to the officer’s safety, so his actions were unwarranted.”
He calls it excessive force.
The owner of the van told Fox 29 on Thursday the whole altercation was a mistake. He says his van was stolen last month when he was robbed at gunpoint.
He claims he found it and told the police, offering a number as proof of his report to the department. He believes the vehicle was never taken from the stolen vehicle list because he says he’s been stopped repeatedly.
The owner also claims Highway Patrol approached the van believing it was stolen and cuffed the woman in the vehicle apparently thinking she was involved.
Police tried to charge her with resisting arrest and disorderly conduct, but District Attorney Larry Krasner rejected them.
Muhammad says he’s commending that move and while he’s not calling on police to fire the officer involved, he says something has to change.
“We think there should be some disciplinary action, I think this strikes in the face a police department that is trying to bring about reduction in unconstitutional stops.” Minister Muhammad explained.
Philadelphia Police say they take “all matters involving the application of force seriously” and there is an internal investigation underway.