Huffpost Politics

But For Video: Philly Cop Dismissed For Being A 'Freaking A-Hole'

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Chalk another one up to the power of social media and personal technology.

Officer Philip Nace . . . is perhaps the first Philly lawman to get benched for what a police spokesman described simply as "idiotic behavior." . . .

"Nace is nasty," said Louis Goode, 55, who has lived on the corner of Park Avenue and Auburn Street for 30 years. "It's like he wakes up on the wrong side of the bed every morning."

Goode lives on the same corner where Nace was recently recorded knocking down a basketball hoop and telling the guys with the ball to "have a good day" as he drives away in a police van. "Jesus loves you," Nace's partner yells out the window.

It apparently wasn't the first time Nace toppled the $450 adjustable hoop, which is now broken.

"He comes out here and harasses people all the time. . . . Nace is a bully," said the 21-year-old who shot the video. He asked that his name not be printed because he's afraid Nace would retaliate. He said Nace had previously banged his head against a truck . . .

Last week, the Daily News reported that Nace was under investigation after he appeared in a YouTube stop-and-frisk video that featured him berating two pedestrians, telling one man he would "split your wig open" and calling the other a "f---ing dirty ass."

"We don't want you here, anyway. All you do is weaken the f---ing country," Nace says in the video. "How do I weaken the country? By working?" the man asked. "No, freeloading," Nace said. When the man said he's a server at a country club, Nace responded, "Serving weed?"

Neither man was charged with a crime, police confirmed yesterday. Both were released following Nace's profanity-laced tirade.

The article ticks off several other incidents, many of them also including Nace's partner, who as far as I can tell has not been dismissed. It's worth noting here that there had already been a number of complaints against Nace. They weren't sustained. It wasn't until video of his bullying went viral that the Philadelphia Police Department took action.

That's a good argument for making sure it always remains legal for citizens to record on-duty cops. But it also raises some other questions. First, why didn't internal affairs take the prior complaints against Nace seriously? How many other Philly cops continue to get away with this sort of conduct? And how many complaints against an individual officer are necessary before internal affairs will stop reflexively taking the officer at his word, and start to suspect that there's a problem?

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Filed by Radley Balko