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Racist Suspect Watch



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Sunday
May112008

Videotaped Philadelphia Police Beating of Black Men a Case of Mistaken Identity, Cover-Up Alleged

The Associated Press PHILADELPHIA - Attorneys for three men beaten by Philadelphia police claim the officers concocted a story that the trio were shooting suspects to cover up a case of mistaken identity , an allegation police vehemently deny. The lawyers said their clients , Brian Hall, 23, Dwayne "Lionel" Dyches, 24, and Pete Hopkins, 19 , were not involved in a shooting. Police chased their car and beat them because they mistook Dyches, a passenger, for a man allegedly involved in the fatal shooting of an officer last weekend, the attorneys said. Dyches' attorney, Eldridge Suggs, showed photos of Dyches and suspect Eric Floyd at a news conference Friday and called the resemblance "uncanny." Floyd was eventually captured and charged in the murder of Sgt. Stephen Liczbinski. "All they've done is make up some facts to account for the beating," Suggs said. "And the reason why they beat this man is because he looked so much like the cop-killer."

Police and city leaders have denied a cover-up. Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey and Mayor Michael Nutter have said officers pursued the car driven by Hall after a triple shooting in the city's Feltonville section.

The three men are charged with attempted murder and other counts related to the shooting.

The Rev. Al Sharpton, a civil-rights activist, has suggested the beating was racially motivated and called it "worse than Rodney King," referring to a black man beaten by white Los Angeles police officers after a 1991 traffic stop.

Ramsey dismissed Sharpton's comments but conceded the incident has given the department a "black eye."

Sharpton is scheduled to meet Sunday with Dyches at the Philadelphia jail.

Thirteen officers have been taken off street duty as police investigate the beating, which was captured on videotape by the local Fox affiliate.

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