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Did police use excessive force pinning a suspect with their cruiser? [w/poll]

Posted Nov 19th 2012 8:00PM

Drexel Police possible excessive force video screencap

Last December, Drexel University Police were attempting to apprehend Walter Johnson, who was was suspected of trying to burglarise local buildings. When the authorities tried to detain Johnson, he fled. And whether it was intentional or not, the pursuit of ended in a dramatic show of force when police pinned Johnson to a wall with their police cruiser. The whole incident was captured on video, and almost a year later, the case is back in the news due to a new parole hearing for Johnson and a lawsuit being brought up against the Philadelphia-area university.

Johnson, who had left a halfway house without permission, was spotted by security cameras attempting to enter several buildings, and when police approached him, he took off running. It's not known how long police were chasing him, but it was all over after he was hit by a Ford Explorer police vehicle and rammed into a building. The force of the impact was enough to crumple the front end of the SUV and shatter Johnson's pelvis and leg. Johnson later told police that he was looking for a restroom, but police said that he and another man he was with were both carrying screwdrivers.

According to a report by WPVI ABC6, Philadelphia's district attorney has dropped the charges against Johnson, but he has remained in prison since the incident for violating his parole. The university itself is declining to comment due to the pending lawsuit, but that isn't stopping critics from accusing the police of using excessive force to capture Johnson.

Scroll down to watch the video report (including a graphic footage of the incident), and then let us know what you think in our poll below.

Did Drexel University police use excessive force in ramming Walter Johnson with the police vehicle?
Yes – pinning him against the wall with the cruiser was unnecessary236 (63.1%)
No – it was justified, as he was a suspected burglar running from the police113 (30.2%)
I'm not sure25 (6.7%)


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Dieter Manero

Got what he deserved, time the police became more on the offensive than that taking it easy on filth like this.

November 19 2012 at 10:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply