Three men charged in a triple shooting wept openly in court yesterday as a videotape of their beatings at the hands of Philadelphia police officers was screened at the Criminal Justice Center.
Dwayne Dyches, Brian Hall, and Pete Hopkins are charged with attempted murder and other counts in connection with a May 5, 2008, shoot-out that injured three men in the Feltonville section.
After the shooting, the men allegedly led police on a high-speed chase in a tan Mercury Grand Marquis. The chase ended at Second and Pike Streets with the men being dragged from the vehicle, and beaten and kicked by tens of Philadelphia police officers.
A Fox29 news crew in a helicopter captured much of the pursuit and the beating that followed. That video resulted in the firing of four officers and the demotion of four others.
As the video was screened, Hopkins, the alleged gunman, used his necktie to dab away his tears. Dyches and Hall choked back sobs as family members seated in the courtroom gallery cried and groaned.
The video followed testimony by the three victims wounded in the shooting at Fourth and Annsbury Streets.
Gerald Cooper, Brandon Crow, and D'Angelo White had been hanging out on the corner when they were sprayed with bullets. Each was hit, but not one of the three recalled seeing the gunman.
"I didn't see nothing," said Crow, who was struck in his lower back, both sides of his buttocks, and his right foot. "I heard gunshots, then ran . . . and I just kept running."
Two officers involved in the chase also testified. Officer Mario DeLaurentis, driving an unmarked car, was the first to follow the Marquis as it left the scene of the shooting.
DeLaurentis said he had activated his car's siren and front grille lights when he saw one of the car's occupants toss a "six- or seven-inch-long object" from the front passenger-side window.
At another point in the chase, DeLaurentis said he watched as a backseat passenger in the Marquis opened a door.
Officer Lisa Pittoulis was driving the first of more than a dozen marked police cruisers that joined the pursuit.
Pittoulis said the Marquis disregarded stop signs and reached over 60 m.p.h. before it was blocked and stopped by another marked cruiser on Second Street.
Pittoulis recalled the chaos that ensued.
At least 10 uniformed police approached the Marquis and, with guns drawn, ordered the occupants to show their hands.
"I saw multiple officers giving multiple commands to put their hands on their heads," Pittoulis said. When the men did not respond, they were dragged from the Marquis, she said.
During what she described as "a violent struggle," Pittoulis said, she watched the backseat passenger, Dyches, assault one of the officers by trying to pull him inside the car and punching him in the face.
She said officers kicked the three suspects because they refused to show their hands.
"The hands are what's going to hurt you," she said.