A Black family is planning a lawsuit after four members of the family were arrested allegedly for loitering outside of their own home earlier this month.
Cellphone footage CBS Philly obtained shows a man identified as Ramir Briggs being pulled over the railing of his family’s porch on Shannon Street in Chester Township.
The area is about 20 miles southwest of Philadelphia.
“We just getting home,” a woman could be heard saying in the video.
Keith Briggs told CBS Philly police used a Taser on him and put him in the back of a cop car. Officers claimed in arrest records that he had also refused to disperse and was cursing at officers.
Some family members were even arrested twice in two days for doing nothing more than standing outside of their house, they told CBS Philly.
The video footage doesn’t show how the encounter began, but it wasn’t until four of the relatives were arrested that police asked who lives at the home, CBS Philly reported.
“The Chester Township Police Department has failed my family,” Rachel Briggs said at a news conference. “Instead of protecting us and serving us, they decided to attack us on multiple occasions.”
She said she was also arrested in the incident.
“I never knew that police officers could decide on one of us being outside too long or arrest us again,” Rachel Briggs said.
Rachel Briggs says their troubles began on Oct. 1 when Officer Pasquale Storace III arrested her sons and nephews for loitering as they were playing in their front yard. Family attorney Kevin Mincey told local radio station KYW 1060 that when the young men were bailed out and returned home the next day Storace came by the house and began to re-arrest the just-bailed out group, this time hauling in other family members as well.
Attorney Kevin Fitzpatrick, who also is representing the family, told CBS Philly the township’s loitering statute was struck down in court in 2012 because the court ruled it too vague.
Mincey told KYW of the statute, “It essentially says there are to be well posted areas of no loitering signs up that say ‘no loitering.’ There are no ‘no loitering’ signs in this particular neighborhood.”
Fitzpatrick added that, based on recent arrests, it seems police are using the disputed law to abuse their powers.
“Who do they think they are to victimize a family like this and do this to someone in the community,” Fitzpatrick asked. “Who do they think they are?”
Turquoise Benso, a neighbor who witnessed the incident, told CBS Philly he observed 15 police cars at one point in the encounter.
“I just felt that the police presence was excessive,” he said. “Fifteen police cars — that’s a lot for a family of four or five.”
The family is expected in court on Oct. 17.