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More Philadelphia officers cited in beatings

Seven more Philadelphia police officers were removed from active duty yesterday in the probe of the news video that shows police beating and kicking three shooting suspects after a car chase Monday night.

Seven more Philadelphia police officers were removed from active duty yesterday in the probe of the news video that shows police beating and kicking three shooting suspects after a car chase Monday night.

A review of an enhanced copy of the 11-minute Fox29 video enabled police investigators to identify the seven, said Lt. Frank Vanore, a police spokesman. They bring to 13 - one sergeant and 12 officers - the number of police taken off street duty pending the probe's outcome.

Mayor Nutter and Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey appeared on national televison yesterday morning on CNN and ABC, reiterating points they have made since Fox29 first aired the video Tuesday: The police conduct it shows is inexcusable and will be investigated and dealt with.

"The conduct was unacceptable," Nutter said on CNN. "It did not live up to the standards we have set for the Police Department."

The video shows as many as 15 officers, all of them white, rushing the vehicle of the three black suspects, yanking them from the car, and kicking and beating them after they were prone.

The racial element was raised yesterday by the Rev. Al Sharpton. The civil-rights activist interviewed the mother of one of the suspects on his radio show and said: "I've not seen anything like that since Rodney King, and it's worse than Rodney King."

King, who is black, was videotaped being beaten by white Los Angeles police officers after he was stopped for speeding in 1991. Four officers were acquitted of most criminal charges in 1992, triggering rioting in Los Angeles and neighboring cities that left 55 people dead and caused $1 billion in property damage.

In response, Ramsey said: "I know everybody's trying to make this into a racial thing. I don't believe it is.

"We just had a policeman murdered on Saturday . . . and emotions are running high. There's no excuse for it, but fanning flames, and making accusations from afar, is not in anybody's best interest."

The news of sanctions against seven more officers came just hours after police captured Eric DeShawn Floyd, 33, the last of three men suspected in Saturday's slaying of Police Sgt. Stephen Liczbinski - and shortly before the beginning of last evening's viewing for the 12-year police veteran in Northeast Philadelphia.

Liczbinski, 39, married and the father of three children, will be buried today after a noon Funeral Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul in Center City.

Among other developments yesterday, D. Scott Perrine, the attorney for Dawayne Dyches, one of the three men beaten and arrested Monday night, said police had pursued Dyches because they believed he was Floyd.

Perrine said he believed police were trying to cover up the case of mistaken identity - and police-administered street justice - by charging Dyches and two others in an unrelated North Philadelphia shooting that wounded three people Monday night.

Perrine, who is representing all three suspects, said the three maintain that, contrary to what police have said, there was never a fourth man with them who fled the shooting scene on foot.

"Why haven't they released a description of this man who shot and wounded three people?" Perrine asked.

Vanore denied allegations of a coverup: "These were totally different and separate incidents. There was a shooting, and police followed that car from the shooting scene."

Meanwhile, the FBI in Philadelphia confirmed that it would monitor the investigation by police and the District Attorney's Office before deciding whether to refer the incident to the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division for review.

Cathie Abookire, spokeswoman for District Attorney Lynne M. Abraham, declined to comment on the FBI statement, saying: "We intend to do a full and fair investigation."

Police have said the three men - Dyches, 24, of the 2000 block of North Marshall Street in North Philadelphia; Brian Hall, 23, of the 1900 block of North Marshall Street; and Pete Hopkins, 19, of the 2000 block of East Firth Street in Kensington - were arrested after they drove from Fourth and Annsbury Streets, the scene of the shooting in North Philadelphia's Feltonville section, shortly after 10 p.m. Monday.

Police say a fourth man had arrived with the three suspects and fled on foot after firing into a crowd. Police said that 15 spent 9mm casings had been found at the scene, but that no weapon had been recovered from the vehicle, which was stopped about two miles away in the 3700 block of North Second Street.

At that point, the video shows officers charging to the suspects' vehicle with guns drawn. In the next minute, the officers pull the three from the car, beating them after they have been forced to the street. The beatings take up about one minute of the video.

"It's absolutely inappropriate behavior," Nutter said in his appearance with Ramsey yesterday on ABC's Good Morning America. Apparently less accepting of the possibility of some explanation for the officers' actions, he said, "There is a way to take people into custody . . . and . . . not-acceptable ways."

"With all due respect, none of us were out there," countered Ramsey. "We don't know the circumstances. The video doesn't tell you everything."

Still, he added: "I understand the emotion. I understand everything that's involved, but there's nothing in our policy that would allow kicking individuals and taking them into custody that I saw on that tape."

Nutter said the beatings has "virtually nothing to do with race; it has to do with crime."

Police have not released the names of the officers. At least two of the male officers can been seen kicking one suspect and then moving on to kick another. One of those officers also clubbed one of the suspects seven times.

Perrine said all three of his clients had cuts and bruises over their entire bodies and that Dyches - a red-jacketed man seen being pulled from the rear seat of the sedan - seems to have lost the use of his right leg.

All three have been charged with attempted murder, conspiracy, assault and firearms charges. They are being held in lieu of substantial bail pending a preliminary hearing next Friday.

To see the video and an interview with Mayor Nutter, visit