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Resource ID: #17866
Subject: Police
Source: Philadelphia Inquirer
Date: 2001-06-03



An Inquirer investigation going back seven years documented injuries to 20 people tossed around in Philadelphia Police Department wagons. Two of those people were permanently paralyzed. "Most of the victims had clean records. They were arrested on minor charges after talking back to or arguing with police. Typically, the charges were later dismissed. Those wagon injuries have cost taxpayers more than $2.3 million in legal settlements, but Philadelphia Police Officer has ever been disciplined for subjecting a passenger to a wild ride." These rides were reportedly part of rookie officers' street training. Furthermore, although Internal Affairs is required to investigate any injury to someone in police custody, this did not happen in 11 of the 20 cases documented by the Inquirer. The bare wagons were not equipped with safety devices, such as padding or seat belts, that have been added to police vans in other cities in recent years. Now, only 10 of the department's 86 vans have been retrofitted for these features.

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