The Philadelphia Police Department has launched an internal investigation after a video showing white officers brutally beating a black suspect emerged last week. The department reportedly said in a release Thursday that it was made aware of the video a day earlier.
The video shows Tyree Carroll -- who was reportedly arrested in April for possession of 5.3 grams of crack cocaine -- being kicked, punched and cursed by about 12 police officers while he is on the ground yelling for his grandmother. It also shows one of the officers threatening to use a Taser on the 22-year-old suspect. After Carroll is subdued and taken away in a police vehicle, one of the officers is seen throwing his bike on the side of the road.
"Since when does it take that many police officers for one young man? He's not packing. He's unarmed. He's not running. He's lying on the ground saying, 'I'm sorry, I'm sorry,'" Jasmyne Cannick, a Los Angeles-based political commentator who posted the video on YouTube, said, according to the Associated Press. "It was like some kind of team sport was taking place in that video, and Tyree Carroll was the ball."
The police maintain that Carroll resisted arrest and fought with the officers, biting two of them on the forearm, the hand, thigh, and arm, NBC News reported, citing the police statement. Police also reportedly stated that Carroll’s injuries stemmed from "intentionally striking his own head against the protective shield located in the police vehicle."
According to Cannick, Carroll’s family sent her the video, which was reportedly shot by an unidentified woman. Cannick said the woman did not know how to contact Carroll's family leading to the delay in the video's release, the Huffington Post reported.
The woman who shot the video is heard saying that the officers "tased him four, five times," but police have reportedly stated that Carroll was not tased.
Berto Elmore, a lawyer who agreed to represent Carroll after a friend sent him the video, told AP: "It's frightening for an African-American male because at any time we can be that individual getting beat," he said. "It doesn't matter if you're a doctor, a lawyer or Barney the bum."