Video Shows Police Officer Brutally Beating Oktoberfest Reveler on South Street [UPDATED]
Just weeks after a video showing a uniformed Highway Patrol Lieutenant punching out a woman at the Puerto Rican Day Parade dealt the local law enforcement community a black eye, another clip has surfaced of a man being brutally billy-clubbed by another officer at the Oktoberfest Block Party outside of Brauhaus Schmitz on South Street. Unlike the events captured by an eagle-eyed bystander at the Puerto Rican Day Parade, which ultimately led to the dismissal of Lt. Jonathan Josey, the clip from South Street shows the a guy identified as John Scrivano acting like a belligerent, drunken jackass. He even goes so far as actually slapping Officer William J. Gress’s face a split second before the cop comes back with his nightstick, and repeatedly hammers away until Scrivano is on the ground bleeding.
Of course this being Philly, the incident gives way to further controversy. Seems Gress has a history of being a little overzealous in keeping the peace on South Street. According to the Daily News, the bike cop has been the subject of at least four lawsuits over the years. One of which accused him of breaking a woman’s nose outside of another South Street restaurant. The city settled that case for $30,000.
Update: CBS Philly is reporting that Officer Gress has been named in as many as 13 complaints of unreasonable force and unlawful arrest — 11 of which the city settled for sums ranging from $3,000 to $60,000 — during his 16 years on the force. [CBS Philly]
Another slugging Philly cop goes viral [Daily News]