This morning's hearing for three shooting suspects - whose beating by police was caught on a helicopter news video - ended in postponement, shouted protests against police brutality, and arrest warrants issued for several missing witnesses.
Philadelphia Municipal Court Judge Jacquelyn Frazier-Lyde ordered the preliminary hearing for the men to be postponed until July 17 after Assistant District Attorney Carol Meehan Sweeney announced that several shooting victims had failed to appear for the hearing.
Sweeney then requested and received from the judge bench warrants for three victims shot on May 5: Gerald Cooper, Brandon Crowe, and De'Angelo White.
Sweeney said that she spoke personally to Cooper and Crowe about today's hearing, and spoke with the mother of White.
The victims were gunned down shortly after 10 p.m., allegedly by three men, the same three, police said, whose beating was filmed by a Fox29 news helicopter.
Frazier-Lyde then angered defense attorneys by suddenly recusing herself when it came to the question of whether the suspects should be freed on bail. The judge did not state a reason in court and the attorneys said she also did not elaborate in a sidebar conference.
The packed courtroom then emptied into the lobby of 24th and 25th Police District's headquarters.
Loud shouting erupted as family and supporters of the suspects complained about the beatings and the fact that they had been denied bail.
"We are tired. We are paying these police to beat us. This has got to stop," said Paula Peebles, chairman of the Philadelphia chapter of the National Action Network, the civil rights organization led by the Rev. Al Sharpton.
Dwayne Dyches, 24; Brian Hall, 23; and Pete Hopkins, 19 are charged with attempted murder and related counts, accused of shooting into a crowd in the Feltonville section of North Philadelphia.
Police say they believe the shooting was in retaliation for the May 4 murder of a 20-year-old Feltonville man.
Shortly after the shooting, police pursued a late-model sedan belonging to Hall after it left the scene. A news helicopter overhead shot video of police forcing the suspect vehicle to the shoulder in the 3700 block of North Second Street.
The video then shows a group of up to 15 officers rushing the car, pulling the three men out and forcing them to the ground and then kicking and beating them for about one minute.
Defense attorneys for the men have said they had nothing to do with the shooting and that the pursuit and beating was because police had mistaken Dyches for Eric DeShawn Floyd, 33, then a fugitive wanted in the May 3 slaying of Sgt. Stephen Liczbinski.
Mayor Nutter and police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey decried the beatings shown on the video and announced the start of an internal investigation. Thirteen officers, including a sergeant, have been removed from active duty pending the outcome of that probe.
The FBI in Philadelphia has said it would monitor the investigation by police and the District Attorney's office before deciding whether to refer the incident to the U.S. Justice Department's Civil Rights Division for review.
Police said 15 9mm cartridge casings were found at the scene but no weapon was recovered from the vehicle that was stopped.