50 signatures reached
To: Philadelphia -- Mayor Jim Kenney and City Council
Philadelphia Law Enforcement Reform Petition
Therefore, we demand that Philadelphia take immediate action to implement all or a significant combination of the below policies to reform the PPD and Philadelphia’s law enforcement system as a whole. We understand that this will require negotiations regarding when and how to implement these policies, and an almost complete overhaul of our current system, however all of these policies are feasible and should be implemented. Implementing these policies will show that Philadelphia is on the right side of history in protecting its residents and standing alongside humanity. Please work with us to make Philadelphia, and America, a safer place for all.
The policies we are demanding are as follows:
Declaration of Racism as A Public Health Emergency & Use of Restorative Justice
Defund/Decrease Budget of the PPD
Use of Non-Police Emergency Responders
End Qualified Immunity
Recreate the Hiring Process
Implement Continuous Training and Evaluations
Enforce Body Cameras
Make Use of Force and Violence A Last Resort
Implement Inappropriate Force Bystander Training and Public Reporting Systems
End Property Seizures
Give Citizens More Control Over Review Boards
Why is this important?
View full letter here for more details on the policies we are demanding: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1r46kOyh3c27hz0412kWD9eeMHCO7TW0CXt9ucVad2r4/edit?usp=sharing
We need a new normal and that requires a new strategy. It is not enough to say you’ll do better. It is time that Philadelphia acknowledges its past and actively engages and commits to change.
In light of recent police brutality throughout the country, American citizens are protesting racist police departments, and the generations of pain and suffering they have inflicted on Black Americans. Please do not be mistaken, this is an issue in the city of Philadelphia, as well. There is a long history of police terror and murder of Black Philadelphians. Police have brutalized Black Philadelphians and displaced Black neighborhoods since the institution began. The protests will not stop until Philadelphia accounts for its racist and unjust history and commits to real change.
In 1985, the Philadelphia Police Department (the “PPD”) dropped a bomb, one typically used in war combat, on its West Philadelphia residents in an attempt to rid the city of a Black liberation group called MOVE. Eleven people, including five children, died and a Philadelphia neighborhood burned down. The actions of the PPD destroyed more than 60 homes — leaving 250 Philly residents homeless. To this day, many of those homes remain vacant and the PPD’s insidious racism and overt violence continues to loom over the city of Philadelphia.
Last summer, the PPD was involved in yet another racist incident when it was revealed that several officers made racist posts on Facebook. The PPD responded by: (1) suspending 15 officers with an intent to dismiss and (2) removing 72 officers from the streets. An additional seven officers resigned. Shortly thereafter, in September of 2019, a Philadelphia police officer shot a man who was holding a box cutter.
This racism and injustice only continues as Philadelphians raise their voices to promote change. On June 1, 2020, the PPD allowed a group of protestors to gather and protest onto the I-676 highway. Then, the PPD tear gassed the protestors from above via helicopters and from the ground by throwing gas canisters, to the point that bodies were rolling down the hill adjacent to the highway on live television. Tear-gas is a chemical compound so dangerous that it is not even allowed as a war tactic, yet it was used to thwart unarmed protestors. Philly sanctioned the use of this chemical against its own residents, knowing that this tactic could further exacerbate symptoms of COVID-19 and put Philadelphians at risk for asphyxiation. In response to protests against police brutality, as of June 1, 2020, military tanks were seen riding through the neighborhoods of Philadelphia—the biggest show of force yet. Where reasonable force, impartiality, health and safety is a concern, the PPD has failed in serving its citizens.
The entire law enforcement system needs to be reformed to better suit the needs of citizens. Officers are public servants and police departments are funded by the tax dollars of all Philadelphia residents, yet, the PPD continuously fails to serve all members of the Philadelphia community. Police are supposed to be trained to handle difficult and intense situations without resorting to deadly force, yet time and again, deadly force is used. Philadelphia police officers are six times more likely to kill suspects than NYPD police officers. Furthermore, Philadelphia police officers used deadly force nearly 400 times between 2007 and 2013. The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects citizens from unreasonable searches and seizures, including the use of unreasonable force by police officers. However, the Philadelphia Police Department has continuously used unreasonable force, in violation of the U.S. Constitution.