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Saturday, July 13, 2024 | Back issues
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Philly Cops Accused of Klan Act Violations

PHILADELPHIA (CN) - Philadelphia police, in cahoots with a filmmaker, violate the Ku Klux Klan Act and the Constitution by arresting black men on bogus charges and making them watch a movie that is "nothing more than ... propaganda" five black men claim in Federal Court.

Plaintiffs Faheem Beyah, Khalil Beyah, Jawaan Montgomery, Robert Gay and Khalil Brinson claim they were falsely arrested so the city and its police could fulfill a contract with co-defendants Mother's In Charge and its founder and director Dorothy Johnson-Speight.

The men claim Mother's In Charge, a nonprofit, "was acting in concert with the municipal defendants to promote re-educational films and community advocacy programs for a fee."

The plaintiffs claim that on June 24, 2011, defendant police Capt. Anthony Washington, senior police officer in the 17th Police Precinct, "personally dispatched all police officers under his command to arrest some Niggers because he is having a defendant Mother's In Charge town meeting and needs a full jail."

They claim that "Immediately after being instructed to arrest some Niggers," Philadelphia police Officers Does 1-140 "unlawfully arrested more than 20 innocent African-American men and boys," including the five plaintiffs.

The plaintiffs say they were not violating any laws, and were arrested without reasonable suspicion. But the arresting officers told them to "shut the fuck up" and said "that they would make up charges," according to the complaint.

Sure enough, the men say, the cops claimed they had been "'loitering in front of a abandon building [sic],' or they were in an '(a)rea (that) is known for numerous shootings and high crime/drug area' or they were 'blocking foot traffic.'" (Parentheses in complaint, which says the statements came from "Form 75-48s," which are police incident reports.)

Some of the arresting officers, though "simply told the truth and stated in their Form 75-48s that plaintiffs were 'transport[ed] to 17th Dist. for film,'" according to the complaint.

The plaintiffs claim they were "held in an overcrowded, dirty, nasty and stinking cell for more than an hour," and then "compelled against their will to watch and listen to a 'film' and lecture produced and distributed by defendants Mother's In Charge and Johnson-Speight that is used to make money for defendants Mother's In Charge and Johnson-Speight."

The plaintiffs claim this has been going on for years, and that defendant Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey "does not answer to anyone for his statements or actions because the only person that has any supervisory authority over defendant Ramsey, Mayor Michael Nutter, is nothing more than a 'yes man' to defendant Ramsey."

Nutter is not named as a defendant.

The plaintiffs seek damages for Ku Klux Klan Act violations, civil rights violations, false arrest, abuse of process, racial discrimination, intentional infliction of emotional distress and failure to supervise.

They are represented by Brian Humble.

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