By Pat Loeb
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – City officials say the Philadelphia police officer caught on video using his baton to help make an arrest at a South Street block party last month has been sued in federal court 13 times.
Officer William Gress is seen in a video posted on the internet trying to settle down an unruly celebrator at Oktoberfest — until the man smacks him in the face, at which point Gress beats him to the ground with a baton, to the applause of bystanders.
Commissioner Charles Ramsey says Internal Affairs is investigating to see if Gress used excessive force, but he says any past cases won’t figure in to the investigation.
“It’s not like I can look at this and say well because you’ve got x number of complaints in the past, now that makes you wrong in this incidence,” said Ramsey.
The x-number, it turns out, is 13 in his 16-year career. The mayor’s spokesman says 11 resulted in settlements, ranging from $3,000 to $60,000. A review of the cases shows they involved charges of unreasonable force and unlawful arrest, among others.
Police officials say 13 cases is on the high side but that doesn’t indicate Gress’s fitness. He remains on duty.