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Gay couple allege police brutality in responding to domestic quarrel

Friday, January 21, 2011

PHILADELPHIA — A gay couple has filed harassment and brutality charges against the local police department, and claim they were taken out of their homes and beaten in the snow by 10-12 officers with batons. Several neighbors reportedly have photographs and video.

In late December, police were called to the home of partners Luis Berrios and Jason Mendez after a neighbor heard what they thought was a domestic dispute.

Officers allegedly handcuffed Mendez and dragged him outside, shoved him in the snow and started beating him with their batons, screaming “nigger” and “faggot.”

When Berrios demanded that the police stop beating his partner, they did the same thing to him.

Via the Philadelphia Gay News:

“I don’t know what he did with the baton but it felt like he put it between the cuffs and just started twisting it back the opposite way,” Berrios said.

“I kept telling him how much it was hurting and he just said, ‘Shut up, pussy faggot.’ I closed my eyes and all I could hear was Jason screaming. And I told him I have a dislocated wrist, and he said, ‘Shut the fuck up, or you’ll have a broken wrist.’ He said, ‘Let me hear you squeal, faggot.’

“And I just started screaming in pain and telling them to just take me, to just put me in jail if they wanted to, so he’d stop. I begged the other officers to make him stop and my neighbor was standing there crying because she knew she couldn’t do anything. I was crying and finally just started banging my head against the windshield to try to knock myself out because I was in so much pain.”

Police allegedly picked the men off the ground by their shirts and pants and threw them head-first into the squad cars (missing the first time so they landed on the ground face-first).

The couple claim that several neighbors were watching, crying and have photos and videos of the event.

Berrios filed the complaint with Internal Affairs on Dec. 30, and again on Jan. 13 after he was told they had not received his complaint. No official action has been taken.

Barrios was bailed out the day after the incident by a neighbor, but Mendez remains in custody because he was on probation over a drug charge last year.

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27 more reader comments:

  1. Oh my god. I honestly have no words for how horrified and disgusted I am.

    Posted on Friday, January 21, 2011 at 3:58pm
  2. thats horrible

    Posted on Friday, January 21, 2011 at 3:58pm
  3. what the flipping FUCK,

    Posted on Friday, January 21, 2011 at 4:00pm
  4. Sickening

    Posted on Friday, January 21, 2011 at 4:01pm
  5. How fucked up. Gee, so much for the justice system. They wonder why noone likes them or attempts to shoot them down. Assholes. So power drunk its disgusting.

    Posted on Friday, January 21, 2011 at 4:02pm
  6. wow

    Posted on Friday, January 21, 2011 at 4:02pm
  7. Speechless.

    Posted on Friday, January 21, 2011 at 4:03pm
  8. Not suprised.. Fuck pigs!!!

    Posted on Friday, January 21, 2011 at 4:03pm
  9. How horrible. This is so sad and wrong. How can the police do that to innocent people? I almost cried when i read this.

    Posted on Friday, January 21, 2011 at 4:04pm
  10. fuckin assholes

    Posted on Friday, January 21, 2011 at 4:04pm
  11. Fuck the police. They have no respect or care for the LGBT community. And they always get away with doing whatever they want. This is just wrong. I don’t trust police officers. Protectors of the community my ass!!

    Posted on Friday, January 21, 2011 at 4:05pm
  12. People that like this status are fucking scum..

    Posted on Friday, January 21, 2011 at 4:09pm
  13. Fuck these police officers. They’re a walking contradiction. Police are supposed to PROTECT, not beat the shit out of people. Fucking idiots.

    Posted on Friday, January 21, 2011 at 4:12pm
  14. Just fucking wonderful.

    Posted on Friday, January 21, 2011 at 4:18pm
  15. i dont like that people here are saying all police are bad. not all police are homophobic racist twats. there are good cops. we just need to make the psychological test that police go through before they join be much MUCH more strict. and adding a diversity acceptance test and/or class would be a MAJOR plus.

    Posted on Friday, January 21, 2011 at 4:20pm
  16. all of them should be fired of the force and sued individually too. time to stop the abuse.

    Posted on Friday, January 21, 2011 at 4:55pm
  17. Stop the police abuse. I’m tired of the bullshit. I’m a open person, if something happens to me like this, I’ll go on tv do something about it.

    Posted on Friday, January 21, 2011 at 5:43pm
  18. I agree with Jeremiah.

    Posted on Friday, January 21, 2011 at 5:58pm
  19. I hate to say it, but there are two sides to this story. I want to see the videos or the pictures the neighbors took of this going on. I’m not saying this couple is lying. I’m just saying before we judge the police we need to know both sides of what happened. If the police did in fact engage in abusive speech and actions then they should be fired from their jobs and jailed for excessive force, assault and improper use of police equipment and authority. If however, they did not or the couple threatened or attacked the officers first then the couple deserved what they got and should also be jailed or fined or both for creating this now very public outcry against the police in that community. Regardless of what happened, watching someone be arrested and treated roughly is a very emotionally tough experience for anyone, so it’s no shock that the neighbors were crying and upset about it. And clearly, something was going on for the police to have been called in the first place.

    Posted on Friday, January 21, 2011 at 6:52pm
  20. *note to self* have alot of locks on all my doors. Its sad the people trusted to keep us safe would attack a couple just for being happy with their lifes and not causing anyone any trouble.

    Posted on Saturday, January 22, 2011 at 1:02am
  21. ok, so wheres the pics? the video footage? the eye witnesses?
    its a thing called ‘EVIDENCE’ – use it if u want people to believe u!!!!!

    Posted on Saturday, January 22, 2011 at 6:35pm
  22. Fair enough, except for: “And clearly, something was going on for the police to have been called in the first place.” Sounds a bit like justifying what happened to me. The police get called for all kinds of reasons, some of them totally bogus. And police involve themselves in plenty of instances where they are neither needed nor wanted. To end on this note makes it seem like you really do believe the couple got what they deserved. I agreed more with the beginning part of your comment – that we just don’t have enough information.

    Posted on Sunday, January 23, 2011 at 1:15am
  23. @ Billy Kornacki, Regardless if there were threats or attacks, once the handcuffs go on that threat no longer is there. From the victim’s account these beatings took place while they were handcuffed. There is absolutely no justification for that. I’m sure the photos & video will be released when this goes to trial, if it ever makes it that far. More then likely what will happen is that the officers will resign & a non-disclosed settlement will be reached with the couple. And then no one will see the evidence.

    Posted on Sunday, January 23, 2011 at 8:10am
  24. As someone with first hand knowledge of the Philadelphia Police I can say they are not homophobic. As with any large organization there may be a few bad apples. In this particular case there are two sides to any story. I cannot judge what happened only on the word of alleged victims. Believe me the police are not going to get involved unless they have to. What led up to them having to arrest these folks? I have family members that are Philly cops and go to many events and hang out on a regular basis with many Philly cops. My boyfriend and I have always felt welcome and have never encountered any homophobia whatsoever. There are many openly gay and lesbian cops on the force. I won’t say its all rosy but it is definitely a very progressive department.

    Posted on Sunday, January 23, 2011 at 10:25am
  25. Sounds like Mendez is a shaddy character. Would not be surprised if Barrios and Mendez were up to shenanigans and needed a little roughing up. I also would not be surprised if their account of the events was overly embellished. Inappropriate police brutality is unacceptable but so is citizens gone loco.

    Posted on Sunday, January 23, 2011 at 11:24am
  26. "needed" a little roughing up? When have you or anyone you know "needed" a little roughing up. You obviously have no reference point. It will take ONE experience with a policeman or a court and you will quickly change your mind. Regardless of his character, he still has an expectation of privacy, to be respected, and not to be assaulted by police. Yes, there are two sides to every story and the couple may have been unruly but to treat them this way is never necessary. I have no respect for policeman. I have NEVER seen one - not one do anything good.

    Replied on Tuesday, February 1, 2011 at 4:47am
  27. yeah cause we have camera’s now and we are going to be watching you pigs, everything you do will be scrutinized. The news, brought to you by everyone.

    just sayen

    Posted on Sunday, January 23, 2011 at 3:46pm