For more than eight minutes, a surveillance video shows Philadelphia police apparently beating and violently trying to force a handcuffed man into the backseat of a police cruiser.
The video, recorded around 1:30 a.m. March 31 in the 1900 block of Judson Street in North Philadelphia, appears to show police striking Kyle Byrd, 36, with batons, slamming a car door repeatedly on his body, pepper-spraying his face, and throwing him to the ground.
Byrd clearly is resisting being put into the car, but he does not appear to be kicking or otherwise trying to injure the officers.
At one point, after police leave Byrd - who was arrested after a domestic dispute with his fiancee, Alicia Parks - to lie on the ground, an officer walks to him and pokes him in the back with a baton, as if to check whether he is still alive.
Byrd, who appears to be bleeding heavily onto the sidewalk from his head, finally is carried away to another vehicle, which is out of the frame. He was taken to Episcopal Hospital.
Capt. Benjamin Naish, spokesman for the Police Department, said he was unaware of the incident.
"If there is videotape of a police beating, we want to investigate it immediately," Naish said.
Byrd's attorney, Cary McClain, said he did not file a complaint with police Internal Affairs because he had been busy working on the criminal case. He said he plans to file a suit against the officers involved.
The video was provided to The Inquirer yesterday by McClain, who alleges that police used excessive force in trying to get Byrd into the backseat of the cruiser.
"It was a domestic case that turned into a nightmare beating," McClain said.
According to McClain, Byrd suffered broken ribs, a fractured left arm, a concussion, and eye damage from the arrest. While in custody, he was hospitalized three times, each time for several days, McClain said.
Byrd developed fluid around his heart and a blood clot between his heart and ribs, McClain said.
He provided photographs that show Byrd at Hahnemann University Hospital with numerous large bruises, his left arm in a sling, a blood-filled eye, and tubes draining fluid from his chest.
McClain said he obtained the apartment surveillance video in mid-April through a subpoena of the management of the complex where Byrd and Parks live.
During the video, Parks is seen approaching the officers to get them to stop struggling with Byrd. An officer grabs her and slams her onto the hood of another car. She was not arrested and can be seen walking away.
McClain said Parks only wanted the police to remove Byrd and did not want him charged with any type of assault, though they did have a physical altercation.
Byrd resisted going into the car because he was intoxicated, was allegedly punched by an officer before being taken outside, and was overwhelmed with claustrophobia, McClain said.
Byrd was charged with sexually assaulting his girlfriend. Those felony charges were dismissed at a preliminary hearing on April 24 before Municipal Court Judge James DeLeon, who reduced Byrd's bail from $75,000 to $5,000.
He faces trial this month on misdemeanor charges of resisting arrest, indecent assault, simple assault, possession of an instrument of crime, and recklessly endangering another person.
Yesterday, Common Pleas Court Judge Susan I. Schulman signed an order releasing Byrd from prison and placing him under house arrest while he awaits trial on the charges.
Byrd has a lengthy arrest record, mainly for drug offenses, and was on probation for a drug conviction at the time of his arrest. He was also being held on a probation violation for the March 31 arrest.
"He had plenty of brushes with the law in the past, but it's not relevant to the beating," McClain said.
He said Byrd's family would post the required 10 percent of his bail and hoped to have him home soon.
To see the surveillance video of the March 31 arrest of Kyle Byrd, go to: http://go.philly.com/beatingEndText