PHILADELPHIA - Members of Philadelphia's city council are calling for an end to the use of tear gas and rubber bullets by police against protesters.
SkyFOX was over the Vine Street Expressway on Monday when officers fired tear gas, bean bag, and pepper spray at demonstrators. The action of those officers incited immediate backlash prompting Commissioner Outlaw to respond.
"Today's deployment of tear gas was a means to safely diffuse a volatile and dangerous situation, and restore order, when it became increasingly clear that other measures were ineffective in accomplishing that necessary objective," Outlaw said Monday.
In a statement, council members said that tear gas and rubber bullets endanger the public at large and infringes upon the civil rights of protesters.
The statement, in part, read:
"We understand that the Police Department has the responsibility to maintain public safety as thousands of people take to our streets. However, the past week has shown appalling instances of police officers using excessive and unnecessary force during largely peaceful demonstrations. The use of weaponry such as rubber bullets, tear gas, and pepper spray directly to the face endangers the broader public. This brutality has brought shame to Philadelphia and thrust us into the national news cycle for the world to see. It is unacceptable."
In lieu of using tear gas and rubber bullets, the council members are insisting that the Philadelphia Police Department allow its trained and professional crowd control unit in Civil Affairs to take a leadership role today and for future demonstrations.
The Civil Affairs team was established to work with communities and help organizers maintain crowd control without use of weaponry.
Altogether, the four Councilmembers who put forth the statement were Councilmember Kendra Brooks, Councilmember Jamie Gauthier, Councilmember Helen Gym and Councilmember Isaiah Thomas.
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