Sunday, July 1, 2012

3 Pennsylvania Police Brutality Cases

Pennsylvania’s 3 cases of Police Brutality may not be as widely known as the Rodney King case, but one is just as shocking.  Two of the cases occurred in Pittsburgh while the third case occurred in the small town of Towanda, Pennsylvania.

The first victim was Johnny Gammage, a black man who was driving his cousin’s car in Brentwood which is a suburb of Pittsburgh in October of 1995. He is using his brake lights often and this is why the police officer first noticed him. The officer followed him into the city limits and decided to pull him over.  An officer from the Whitehall department shows up and is followed by more cops from the Brentwood and Baldwin departments.

Together the five officers subdued him and after the man was handcuffed, the 2 officers from the Whitehall department restrained him. Within the next seven minutes Gammage dies, the coroner’s report listed the cause of death as asphyxiation because of pressure applied to his neck and chest.  

The second victim was a high school student who was out walking on the night of January 12, 2010. Three plain clothed officers went up to Jordan Miles and demanded drugs and money. When the student ran away the cops chases him, beat him up, and then arrested him. In the police report, the cops said it appeared that the victim had a gun in high pocket at first glance. After they searched him they found it to be a bottle of soda.

The third case and perhaps the most shocking of all occurred on a night just two months later in a small town of a few thousand people.  Robert Leone a 31 year old male was spotted driving his car down a dark road on March 8, 2010. State troopers were out looking for a dark car involved in a hit and run, one trooper mistook Leone’s car to be the one being sought and gave pursuit.

Robert Leone was not driving fast, nor did he try to elude the trooper. He simply did not stop his car, as he did nothing wrong. He assumed the officer was off to some other emergency and would pass him. The trooper radioed for back up and more officers got involved with the low speed pursuit.  

The troopers used a manoeuvre to stop the slow moving car.  One patrol car blocked the driver’s side door, while another one was parked in front of the car. The back of the car was in a ditch so it was immobilized. The dashboard cam of one patrol car facing the passenger’s side door showed what happened to Robert Leone over the next several minutes. 

Officers use stun guns on Robert Leone several times during and after he was removed from the car.  The dash cam view shows the officers as they physically assault the victim, one officer is seen shaking his own hand after he broke it by punching the victim in the head. The audio transmission records the verbal assault by officers, lots of cussing as well as the pleas from Leone.

Te victim was taken to the local hospital, and when he told hospital personnel he was being beaten by the cops, the hospital workers were told to leave. When the troopers were done with subduing Leone he had been beaten further, he would also suffer more at their hands while in custody at the Towanda Barracks of the Pennsylvania State Troopers.

Mr. Leone who failed to stop for officers had been in jail since that time.  It was realized after the troopers stopped him that he was not the driver they were looking for. 

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