I DON'T KNOW when Philip Nace became a Philadelphia police officer. But I have to believe, when he swore an oath to protect and serve, that he didn't imagine his future would include seeing his scowling red face on a Daily News cover about bully cops.
But there he was, in yesterday's story by Bill Bender about a stop and frisk. Nace and another cop harangued two pedestrians in the 25th District after the men had - sigh - said hello to a third man unidentified on the street.
To write the story, Bender didn't need to rely on anyone's memories of what went down. The bad behavior was recorded in a 16-minute video, so the cops' caveman bluster - which has garnered more than 64,000 YouTube hits - is audible in all its expletive-laden glory.
I won't recap everything that Nace and his partner (as yet unnamed) said and did. You can see and hear it for yourself at PhillyDailyNews.com/frisk (promo code: P19C). But their breathtaking contempt for the men they stopped hit its nadir when Nace snarled to one of them, "We don't want you here, anyway. All you do is weaken the f---ing country."
Cop to pedestrian on video: Stay out of Philly
"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, "Server. Serving weed?"
Officer Congeniality he's not.
The incident is being investigated by Internal Affairs. No matter the results, I doubt we'll get answers to the bigger question: When did Nace, a 46-year-old department veteran, and the other officer become so comfortable acting like schoolyard bullies?
Did they enter the Philadelphia Police Academy that way? Or did the job grind them down to bitter burnouts who say things like, "Don't come to f---ing Philadelphia. Stay in Jersey," to the people unlucky enough to meet them on patrol?