The thugs wore badges, cont’d

The Philadelphia officers’ excuse for their raid on Jose Duran’s bodega was the same as their excuse for other bodega raids: he was selling grocery zip-lock bags, and Pennsylvania law makes it unlawful to sell containers that a seller reasonably knew or should have known will be used to store drugs. The cops methodically snipped the wires to seven or eight security cameras around the store, and Duran said nearly $10,000 in cash, cigarettes, batteries and other goods then mysteriously vanished from the store. [Philadelphia Daily News and more via Metafilter; earlier] More: Radley Balko.


  • Stories such as this one really boil my blood. But, I’m an optimist and I believe cops like this are in the minority and will eventually get theirs, as seen in “The Usual Suspects.”

  • This only goes to show you once again that police are never, ever your friends. Ever!

  • “Now that the Daily News has created a mass hysteria concerning the Philadelphia Narcotics Unit, it comes as no surprise that every defendant ever arrested will now proclaim their innocence and bark about being mistreated.”
    Load of bull crap.
    An honest police unit should want video documentation. Transparency begets trust and good behavior. Opacity guarantees police skuldrugery; the distrust naturally follows.

  • The US Supreme Court in 550 U.S. 372 (2007), held that where the record in a case includes a video capturing the events in question and the video blatantly contradicts a party’s version of events so that no reasonable jury could believe it, a court should not adopt the party’s version of the facts for the purposes of ruling on a summary judgment motion (and presumably any other purpose), and instead view the facts in the light evidenced by the video. The Supreme Court published the opinion and the accompanying video on its website. See

    The holding should cut both ways, for the police in Scott v. Harris and for the shop owner in the instant case.

  • […] on bodega raids by rogue Philadelphia narcotics unit [Radley Balko, earlier here and […]