A disturbing cellphone video shot recently in Philadelphia points to the nature of urban harassment by police under stop-and-frisk.
Officers stop two people walking on the sidewalk, initially telling them that it is for the crime of saying a friendly hello to another passerby – “In this city, you don’t talk to strangers.”
The men are then told that they are “under investigation” for involvement in a robbery. “I said we could’ve got a call, that somebody wearing the clothes you’re wearing just robbed somebody. That’s why we stopped you. Is that wrong of us?”
The officers go on to claim that the pedestrians had been jaywalking, threaten to “split [their heads] open”, and accuse the two of “weakening the country” by “freeloading”:
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