A Philadelphia police officer seen in a TV news video striking a civilian after a car chase – at least once while he was handcuffed – was identified as Michael Collins, a 14-year veteran, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. The civilian, who in the WCAU-TV (Channel 10) news video is seen being struck eight times, was identified as Charles Baum, 30.
This week’s airing of the tape on by national television networks echoes a 2000 incident when a TV news crew taped 14 city police officers involved in beating another suspect, Thomas Jones. In that instance, the suspect was black and most of the officers were white. In the latest case, the suspect is white and the officer is black. In both instances, the violence occurred after a police chase. “It’s very common that there is exercise of force after a chase because of the adrenaline factor,” said criminologist Samuel Walker of the University of Nebraska in Omaha, who wrote about Philadelphia police in a recent book, The New World of Police Accountability. “Philadelphia does not have a good reputation on these issues.”