The courthouse surveillance footage embedded below shows an incident from August (2017) at the Philadelphia Justice Center. But this was no ordinary game of dog pile by the deputies from the Philadelphia Sheriff’s Office working the screening area of the court.
The senior citizen you see being pushed onto the scanner belt, then gang-tackled and thrown to the floor, is a former president of the Pennsylvania Bar Association and (obviously) a pretty prominent Philadelphia lawyer.
As a result of their assault, Clifford Haines ended up with a fractured shoulder. He has now filed an excessive force lawsuit against the five Philly Sheriff’s Deputies involved. The sergeant on duty that day was also named in the lawsuit.
Via the American Bar Association Journal:
A video of the incident shows Haines pointing his finger at an officer, then spreading his arms. The officer appears to slightly push Haines’ chest, and Haines moves his arm as if to deflect the officer’s hand. At that point four officers shove Haines onto the conveyor belt on the metal scanner, and a fifth officer joins in to push Haines off the machine and onto the ground.
The incident occurred in August at the Philadelphia Justice Center. Haines was arrested, but prosecutors declined to file charges after reviewing the video.
The suit says Haines had to enter the courthouse through the general screening area because he had forgotten his bar card. Haines realized that he had forgotten to turn off his cellphone, which had been locked in a pouch during the screening process. When he tried to return to the front of the building to turn off the phone, a deputy “rudely” ordered him to leave through a different area, the suit says.
Haines said he complied, but reprimanded the deputy when he returned to the screening area. When the officer shoved him, Haines says, he repeated his reprimand. He was tackled after that, the suit says.
Haines claims he remained handcuffed for an hour even though he told deputies he was in pain from his shoulder injuries.
The suit claims assault and battery, false arrest and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The suit names as defendants five unidentified deputies and an unidentified sergeant.
This case is actually interesting when you read the description. Basically, what it boils down to is Haines was offended because one of the deputies didn’t respect his authoritah and, since he didn’t have his bar card on him he had to jump through all the same hoops that the commoners do.
So he decided to “reprimand” that deputy, who didn’t appreciate his own authoritah not being respected. It was a pretty quick progression from pissing match to rasslin’ match after that. Then the final lesson for the viewers at home is that the Piggies don’t play fair. Of course, the other thing the cops do once their gang is done dropping you on your head is lie about it and try to lock you in a cage, too.
So that’s why I very much agree with his lawyer’s assessment of the real message of this video (same source as previous):
Haines’ lawyer, Patricia Pierce, said the case shows why members of the public don’t trust law enforcement. “You have to ask yourself: If this can happen to this man in front of cameras, how is anybody else supposed to feel safe?” she told Philly.com.
Really, it should be surprising that people sworn to “protect and serve” the public would escalate a conflict, beat an elderly man, and then attempt to charge him with a crime knowing that they were on camera the whole time. Beyond the social and political stature of their target, it really isn’t at all, though. That’s kinda how that “reprimanding” thing tends to turn out for us commoners more often than not.
Welcome to the club, Mr. Haines.
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Kelly is a lifelong resident of Las Vegas, who’s been very active in local grassroots activism, as well as on a national level during his extensive travels. He’s also the founder/main contributor of Nevada Cop Block, served as editor/contributor at CopBlock.org and designed the Official Cop Block Press Passes.
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