PHILADELPHIA - Temple University released a statement overnight in response to students pleading for the severance of all ties with the Philadelphia Police Department.
After video surfaced of a Philadelphia Police Department officer "abusing" a Temple University student during a recent protest, current students and alumni of the school began a petition demanding the end of the police department's affiliation.
Nationwide, protesters have actively demonstrated in marches and rallies to denounce police brutality and the often disparate nature of crimes against Black American citizens.
A new national movement has encouraged protesters to advocate for the active defunding of the police. The "Defund the Police" cause alleges that actively funding police departments without express guidance, intensive training and accountability condones and endorses ongoing acts of police brutality.
While the campaign has been met with a degree of fervor from protesters, some refute the idea as troubling and promoting discord among communities that need policing.
In response to a Change.org petition demanding that Temple University revoke its ties to the Philadelphia Police Department after the incident, the school released a statement declaring that it would not do so.
The petition, titled "Demand Justice from Temple University #DefundthePolice", denounces the use of force by the Philadelphia Police Department and advocates for better use of funding.
In part, the petition reads:
"Temple University claims that "racism within our community is not tolerated," but they are willing to fund the very institution that suppresses the message of #BlackLivesMatter in our city. It is well known that Temple has been actively gentrifying North Philadelphia for decades, and has expanded its police surveillance beyond campus through its ties with Philadelphia Police."
In Temple University's formal statement responding to the demands of the petion, they wrote in part:
"We do not believe that doing so would be in the best interest of temple students, faculty and staff, and our neighbors in the surrounding community. Shared responsibilities and patrols among the Temple Police Department, our allied universal security partners and the Philadelphia Police Department help keep us safe by providing effective layers of service and protection for the Temple community and residents in nearby neighborhoods."
Commissioner Danielle Outlaw recently addressed the actions captured on camera of Staff Inspector Joseph Bologna Jr. swinging his baton at protesters on June 1 is the subject of an Internal Affairs investigation.
Bologna, a commander in the patrol bureau, is also seen in video moving aggressively toward FOX 29 reporter Chris O’Connell on Sunday. Outlaw says Bologna has been removed from his assignment at this time.
Bologna pictured during protests earlier in early June.
In a press conference, Outlaw stated that she was "deeply concerned" by Bologna's action during a protest seeking to highlight police brutality and call for its end.
So far, Bologna has been charged with reckless endangerment and possession of an instrument of crime. He also faces aggravated assault charges, District Attorney Larry Krasner confirmed Friday night.
Temple University would go on to add in that statement:
"We were extremely disturbed by the violent treatment of a Temple student by a Philadelphia police officer during a recent off-campus protest. We have reached out to the student and will continue to support him throughout this process."
There is no word on the student's condition or if the student plans to release a statement.
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