A Pennsylvania judge has ruled that police illegally stopped a 22-year-old unarmed black man in Philadelphia before a dozen mostly white officers surrounded him and beat him in an encounter captured on video.
Common Pleas Judge Kai Scott on Wednesday ruled that drugs police seized from Tyree Carroll cannot be admitted as evidence because the arresting officer wasn't legally permitted to stop and search Carroll, Newsworks.org reported.
A spokesman for the Philadelphia district attorney said prosecutors haven't decided whether to appeal to Superior Court.
A narcotics officer testified he approached Carroll on April 3, 2015, suspecting he'd recently sold drugs. The undercover officer grabbed Carroll by the arm, leading to a confrontation in which officers kicked, punched and cursed at him.
Scott rejected the argument made by Assistant District Attorney Whitney Golden that since Carroll bit an officer, it didn't matter whether the initial stop was legal. The bite, Golden argued, gave police the right to arrest Carroll for assault.
Carroll's defense attorney, Michael Wiseman, called that logic "mind-boggling."
Wiseman said without the evidence, the district attorney's office will be forced to dismiss the case.
At a hearing on Tuesday, Carroll covered his ears as the judge watched a video of the beating that has been viewed nearly 200,000 times on YouTube.
After the hearing, Carroll said he hopes he never has to view the graphic images again, and said he still felt anxious despite the favorable ruling.
"I'm still nervous," Carroll said. "I don't want the cops to kick my ass again because I beat the case."