Meeting with community activists sparks change with Philadelphia Zoo policies

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The Philadelphia Zoo is taking action after a violent arrest of a teenager on its property earlier this month.

The arrest happened back on June 6 when a police officer was captured on a cell phone video camera forcing a 14-year-old to the ground and cuffing him with zoo security staff nearby. This act has caused an internal affairs investigation of the police officer involved.

Local activists say the arrest was too violent and demanded a meeting with zoo officials.

Some of the zoo’s top executives met with the activists Wednesday morning to discuss the arrest.

Asa Khalif was one of the many activists who met with the executives.

After the meeting, Khalif says the zoo has committed to, “Re-training for the entire staff including the security. What they also have committed to is bringing in activists and community leaders to help with diversity training.”

The Philadelphia Zoo says all its employees will have training on de-escalation from an outside organization with a particular focus on its security people to avoid conflicts and provide better communication. Officials say they never intended for the event to happen and wanted to make sure it never happened again.

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