July 9, 2017, Philadelphia, PA. After spending the afternoon at a pool party, celebrating a child’s birthday, Ariel Rivera hears a commotion outside her home in the Kensington neighborhood. When she opens her door, she discovers three uniformed police officers beating a half-dressed man. Ariel recognizes the man as a local urban camper. Without hesitation, Ariel documents the incident with her cell phone camera and later uploads the video to Facebook.
Locally the video went viral. Soon the local media began to inquire to city officials, only to discover a different version of events. The official word initially described the victim as a known drug dealer, and reported the neighbors were “yelling and screaming”, and the incident was described as a “near riot”. Local officials did not comment on the violence captured on video by Ms.Rivera.
After weeks of claims of ongoing investigations, a singular Officer James Yeager was suspended pending termination, other investigations are described as” on going” and soon others may find their careers and future earnings in jeopardy.
I spoke with Ariel Rivera via phone and she described the events as far too common and feels that there is little she and her neighbors can do to change the situation. She also told me of her fears of retaliation by the police and stories of Philadelphia police framing activists and journalist who document the police.
We are committed to supporting any efforts to bring accountability and transparency to Ariel’s neighborhood and any other place in need.
Please support PINAC’s efforts to continue to support citizen journalists and investigative journalists exposing those suppressing individual liberty and freedom.