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Cop mob in Philly gets off scot-free

by NICOLE COLSON | September 14, 2001 | Page 2

PHILADELPHIA--It's okay to shoot someone five times and then brutally beat them...as long as you're a cop! That was the message that a Philadelphia grand jury sent August 28 when it decided not press charges against any of the mob of cops who were caught on videotape last year savagely beating Thomas Jones.

A year ago in July, police pulled Jones over on suspicion of driving a stolen car--and then opened fire with a hail of bullets in the middle of a residential neighborhood. Jones escaped by jumping into a police cruiser.

When the cops caught up to him, they dragged him from the car and beat and kicked him as he lay on the street--while a news helicopter captured the incident on videotape.

But that was all "legally justified," the grand jury decided. The cops would have been justified in killing Thomas Jones, the panel decided, because they believed Jones had shot an officer in the thumb. In fact, the cop's own partner had shot him.

Jones' wife Victoria Bryant blames pro-cop, pro-death penalty District Attorney Lynne Abraham. "Everyone in Philly knew that the grand jury decision would be that way, because of the DA--because she gave them the evidence that she wanted them to have," Victoria told Socialist Worker.

Thomas Jones is now behind bars--serving an 18- to 37-year sentence. And the cops who nearly killed him get off scot-free. "Why can't they be charged for attempted murder or recklessly endangering another person?" Victoria said. "Because they're wearing a badge. They're in the system."

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