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Investigations Under Way In Philadelphia Police Beating Case

Aired July 13, 2000 - 1:01 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Our top story: a wounded suspect, a wounded cop, car chases, a shoot-out, and a beating caught on videotape. And it all comes three weeks before that city of Philadelphia welcomes thousands of visitors to the Republican National Convention. At least four investigations are under way into yesterday's arrest of Thomas Jones and the events that led up to it.

Police say Jones was spotted driving a stolen car and sped off after being stopped. When the car crashed, Jones and his pursuers allegedly engaged in a running gun battle until the suspect commandeered a police car and sped off again. That chase ended a mile away and this is video of his arrest. Among the many questions being asked today is, how much force used against an uncooperative suspect is too much?

CNN's Deborah Feyerick joins us now with that -- Deborah.

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Natalie, the police commissioner here in Philadelphia says the video does look bad, but he says what the video doesn't show is it doesn't show the officer being shot, it doesn't show the two chases that resulted in all of this, and it doesn't show the suspect jumping into a police car.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN TIMONEY, PHILADELPHIA POLICE COMMISSIONER: It clearly is a unique situation. We don't have police cruisers stolen by a guy who's been shot four or five times. That's not a daily event in Philadelphia. There were two separate vehicle pursuits. This is a carjacking suspect that's wanted. He's also wanted on, in addition, outstanding robbery. This is a very, very unique case. Be that as it may, there will be a thorough investigation. There's no cover-ups here. But we need to do a thorough investigation. We need to interview those officers: What did they hear, what did they see, what are they reacting to?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FEYERICK: And there are several investigations going on right now because the big question, of course: Did police act overly aggressively? Well, the head of the NAACP here in Philadelphia says both black and white police officers went overboard.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JERRY MONDESIRE, PRESIDENT, PHILADELPHIA NAACP: We at the NAACP strongly believe this was a case of excessive force. This was a case where force was used above and beyond the call of duty. Officers were seen jumping over their cars to kick and stomp Mr. Jones, who had already been wounded multiple times by police weapons. And so we've urged the commissioner to speed up that investigation, to make sure that it happens without any delays or convolutions, as we've seen in the past. And he's pledged that he will do that. And he's also said that we will meet with him on a regular basis to know about the progress of that investigation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FEYERICK: Thomas Jones is a 30-year-old self-employed auto mechanic. His family was at the hospital visiting him today. He is in fair condition. Meanwhile, the mayor is calling for a full investigation. He says while he does not condone police behavior, he says this is not going to turn into a witch hunt.

Meantime, religious leaders urging calm. And it is calm here: no protests, no demonstrations.

Reporting live, Deborah Feyerick.

Back to you, Natalie.

ALLEN: All right, Deborah, thanks.

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