Philadelphia City Council aims to review law enforcement's response to protests

Philadelphia City Council vote on a resolution Thursday to review law enforcement's response to citywide protests against racism and police brutality following instances of perceived excessive force from officers.

The resolution, introduced by councilmembers Helen Gym and Curtis Jones Jr., will also aim to provide residents with a forum to share their experiences and make recommendations for safer and non-discriminatory policing. 

In a release, councilmembers highlighted two events that accelerated the need for the resolution. Councilmembers say the "improper arrest" of a Philadelphia Inquirer reporter and the dashcam footage of officers use of tear gas of I-676 to dispel protesters call for deeper vetting of the force's response.

"It’s clear there was a breakdown at multiple levels of decision-making and it’s essential that in the course of the multiple investigations that are going on that at least one of them is fully public," Gym said.

MORE: Philadelphia city council proposes legislation on police reform, including ban on chokeholds

"These hearings will allow us to assess the Unified Command’s response, and to learn how policies and procedures must be changed to ensure that we uphold public safety, preserve humanity and the public health, and ensure that our responses are humane and equitable across neighborhoods."

The hearing will aim to fully understant the decision-making processes behind the use of “less-lethal” force by law enforcement, and will ask for feedback from residents who have been impacted by the city’s response.

“There was no handbook that could have prepared Philadelphia for what we experienced, but we should learn from our experiences,” Jones, Jr. said. “This hearing will provide that forum.”

The resolution will also touch on the results Mayor Kenney and Commissioner Outlaw's review of the city's protest protocols and responses.


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