Video of police beating Germantown man sparks probe by Philadelphia department

 Philadelphia Police Department headquarters (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Philadelphia Police Department headquarters (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

A five-minute cell phone video captured in East Germantown in early April now sits at the center of a newly launched Internal Affairs investigation by the Philadelphia Police Department.

The grainy video – recorded by a witness and uploaded Wednesday to YouTube – initially shows four officers kicking and punching a man lying facedown on Locust Avenue near Crowson Street, not far from his home.

Not long afterward, nearly a dozen cops swarm the scene.

Los Angeles-based commentator Jasmyne Cannick said she posted the video online after a friend of the man, whom she identified as 22-year-old Tyree Carroll, reached out with hopes of shining a light on the incident.

She didn’t hesitate.

“This particular video is particularly egregious because the young man is crying and screaming for his grandmother. You see the officers jump out of the car talking about, ‘I’m gonna tase you now, M-F.’ It really reminded me of Rodney King,” said Cannick.

On her blog, Cannick wrote that police stopped Carroll, who is black, after they spotted him riding his bike the wrong way down a one-way street and that Carroll cooperated with police.

“Tyree obeyed and got off of his bike and spoke with the officer. The officer then proceeded to put Tyree’s hands behind his back before four policemen were suddenly on top of him,” wrote Cannick.

A statement released late Thursday by the Philadelphia Police Department offered a slightly different story of what unfolded around midnight on April 3.

Police say Carroll fought, even bit officers, after being stopped on suspicion of a narcotics violation and that 5.3 grams of crack cocaine were recovered from him.

Police did not use a stun gun on Carroll and “use of force” reports were completed at the time of the incident, according to the statement.

Family members did not respond to calls for comment.

Carroll is scheduled for arraignment July 21 on drug and assault charges.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.