The Philadelphia Police Department announced an internal investigation Wednesday after a cellphone video surfaced of a man being surrounded and repeatedly beaten by a swarm of police officers — as he screamed for his grandmother’s help.
The video, which just surfaced this week, shows 22-year-old Tyree Carroll being punched and kicked — and possibly tased — repeatedly while he is lying on the ground during the April 4, 2015 incident.
At the beginning of the nine minute video, filmed by a woman from her nearby home’s window, Carroll is heard screaming, “Grandma!” as he lie on the ground while four officers begin beating him.
About a minute into the recording another police squad car arrives with more cops and an officer can be heard yelling, “You’re getting the f—ing taser,” and another voice shouts, “Tase that motherf—er.”
In a statement released Thursday police said they were just made aware of the video on Wednesday. They say the case has been referred to the Internal Affairs Bureau, but they contend Carroll fought with the arresting officers and bit two of them — one on the forearm and the other three times on the hand, thigh, and arm.
The officers were transported to the hospital for “bleeding wounds,” while Carroll was brought to the hospital for injuries that came from “intentionally striking his own head against the protective shield located in the police vehicle,” the statement said.
Police also said it didn’t appear that Carroll was hit with a Taser, but they would be investigating further.
The statement also noted that Carroll was found with 5.3 grams of crack cocaine in his possession.
Tyree’s grandmother, Nancy Carroll, told NBC News it was too difficult for her to watch the video from start to finish.
“I couldn’t bear to look at it,” she said. “I just shut my mind and looked away.”
Carroll family attorney Shaka Johnson said that his client does have a criminal record but none of his other run-ins with police left him in need of medical attention.
“My office is still conducting an investigation regarding the details of what led to the initial police encounter. What happened next however is now hardly in dispute.” Johnson said. “Tyree was beaten, punched, kicked, tased, and was absolutely humiliated in front of his community all while screaming for help on lookers and calling for his grandmother.”
Notably, the Carroll arrest took place on the same day as the Walter Scott shooting in South Carolina, which shed renewed light on the issue of police brutality in the black community.