Philadelphia police officer Kevin Corcoran obviously wanted to teach Roderick King a lesson, not only for being part of a group that criticized him for making an illegal u-turn, but for daring to video record him as he stepped out of his marked SUV and walked towards the group.
He focused on King, who had his cell phone camera out, recording the enraged officer.
“I have the right to videotape,” King tells him as the cop approaches. “You’re grabbing me and I’m not even doing anything to you”
“Don’t fucking touch me,” Corcoran responds, moving into King’s space, grabbing at his clothes.
“I’m not touching you,” King reponds.
“Don’t fucking touch me,” Concoran continues before slapping the phone out of King’s hands.
This exchange, where the cop pushes the citizen while ordering him not to touch him, is obviously another one of those training tactics probably taught to cops after they teach them to order suspects to stop resisting when they are not as I’ve seen it used times and have even experienced it myself with security guards.
Concoran probably figured it would work to his benefit in court, knowing the altercation was being recorded, figuring the courts would take his word over a black man standing on a street corner at 2 a.m.
But what he didn’t realize was that another man was video recording the altercation. And he also didn’t realize that King was an Iraq war veteran with a clean arrest record.
After driving for several blocks, King informed him of all this, which made Concoran realized he had messed with the wrong person. He turned the SUV around and dropped King off at the same location where he had arrested him. King filed a million dollar lawsuit a month later.
Now, almost a year later, Concoran has been arrested, charged with false imprisonment, obstructing administration of law and official oppression. He has also been suspended from the department for 30 days and will probably be dismissed, according to Philly.com.
While the decision to arrest Concoran is a victory, it’s troubling that it took almost a year to do so, considering the overwhelming evidence against him.
There is no doubt had Concoran followed through on his arrest, King would have been forced through the system and probably pushed into a plea deal as so many innocent people do on a daily basis, just because they don’t have the time, money and confidence to fight a false arrest in court.
And it is clear that Concoran had abused his power many times over his nine-year career.
This faulty arrest is only one incident in a string of misbehavior and abuses of power. In 2006, Corcoran was investigated by the Internal Affairs division nothing short of six times. In Nov. 2008, he was sued for entering a home without a warrant; that resident suffered two broken vertebrae and a broken nose, at the hands of Corcoran. A year later, Corcoran was sued for beating up a South Philadelphia man. Decidedly, the accusations and charges filed against him over the recent years seem to be endless. But Corcoran has never been formally charged. Until now.
On desk duty for the previous 11 months, Kevin Cocoran is now charged with three misdemeanors for his unlawful demonstration with a war veteran of this country’s Navy. Having been falsely arrested, and voluntarily displaced for the fear of his safety, King is seeking up to $1 million in damages. Quite possibly the final chunk of change at the expense of this brutal officer.
The fact that he was allowed to continue working even after the video arose last year, even if it was just desk duty, shows the Philadelphia Police Department has little regard for the citizens they are sworn to protect.