Video of man slapping Philly officer goes viral

Man is seen yelling at an approaching bike officer as a woman tries to restrain him and screams, "Stop!"

By Robert Moran
The Philadelphia Inquirer

PHILADELPHIA — On YouTube, it was labeled "Oktoberfest Justice."

A viral video surfaced this weekend showing a man slapping a Philadelphia police officer and immediately getting beaten down by that officer at a South Street beer festival last month.

On the video, John Scrivano, 43, of Essington, is seen yelling at an approaching bike officer as a woman tries to restrain him and screams, "Stop!"

Descriptions accompanying the video claim he was spitting and throwing beer at passersby.

With the officer standing in front of him, and trying to keep him away with his left hand, the bearded Scrivano makes hand gestures indicating that he is daring the officer to do something.

"This is awesome," someone exclaims in the background as the scene unfolds in the 700 block of South Street on Sept. 29, the last day of an Oktoberfest event along the popular corridor.

The video then shows Scrivano slapping the officer in the face. The officer, bald and wearing bike shorts, grabs Scrivano with his left hand and strikes him with a baton in his right hand.

The two tumble into the wet gutter as security men try to assist the officer. Scrivano appears still to be fighting when the officer grabs his baton with both hands and rams it into Scrivano's head seven times.

As the officer, whose name was not released, stands up, Scrivano is seen facedown in the street. The woman who was yelling at him earlier makes her way to his side, wailing uncontrollably. She rolls Scrivano to his side, revealing blood on the street. He appears to be shaking his head to questions she is asking.

Philadelphia Lt. Ray Evers, a police spokesman, said that the incident was under investigation by the Internal Affairs Bureau and that Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey had viewed the video.

"We're fully aware of it," Evers said. "There has been a use-of-force investigation since the day it happened."

Evers did not identify the officer but said he had not been taken off the street.

Scrivano was charged with aggravated assault, resisting arrest, and related offenses. In addition to slapping the police officer, Evers said, Scrivano assaulted a security guard at the event.

Scrivano could not be reached for comment.

At the end of the video, a bystander is heard saying: "Let's get a beer. I don't care about this guy."

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