Recap: Philly City Council calls for police reforms; public defenders march
A few hundred demonstrators took to city streets for a 10th day on Monday, with Philadelphia public defenders and other supporters walking as part of coordinated marches by public defenders nationwide. It was the second night in a row that Philadelphia did not impose a curfew.
As Democrats in Harrisburg attempted to persuade their Republican counterparts to allow police reform legislation to move forward, Philadelphia City Council called on Mayor Jim Kenney to enact 15 specific changes in the city’s police department, including “fully resourced, independent police oversight” and changing the police arbitration process.
The protesters marching with the Defender Association of Philadelphia asked the city to invest in the Public Defender’s Office instead of the Police Department, give public defenders overtime pay, end solitary confinement in juvenile detention, and end mass incarceration.
As protests and pressure continue across the country in the wake of Floyd’s death, and a majority of the Minneapolis City Council pledged to disband that city’s police department and create a new system, Democrats in Congress introduced a bill aimed at national reform. Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Joe Biden said the Democratic presidential candidate supports reforms but not defunding police.
A petition against “militarized” policing at the University of Pennsylvania, calling on the school to end what organizers called a campus “police state,” gained more than 10,000 signatures in the last week. The university disagreed with the petition’s premise, and a spokesperson Monday said the school has “one of the finest university police departments in the country.”
Suspect arrested in hit-and-run of bike officer during looting
A suspect has been arrested for running over a police officer and then fleeing the scene in Center City during the first night of protests on May 30, police said Monday.
Angela Hall, 41, of the 5400 block of Harley Terrace in Southwest Philadelphia, was charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault, and related offenses.
Officer Antonio Nieves of the 9th District was on bike patrol attempting to stop a vehicle for suspected looting just after 10:10 p.m. in the 700 block of Chestnut Street when he was run over by the vehicle, which then sped away, police said.
Nieves was still in the hospital Monday night recovering from multiple broken bones, police said.
Hundreds march through Center City with Philadelphia public defenders
Hundreds of people marched through Center City with the Defender Association of Philadelphia Monday afternoon to call for criminal justice reform and additional funding for the city’s public defenders.
The group — which included public defenders and their families, formerly incarcerated individuals, relatives of people killed by police violence, and supporters of the movement — joined public defenders across the country marching for black lives. They gathered at the National Constitution Center before heading to the Federal Detention Center. There, they stopped, hoisted their signs, and looked up to the windows and chanted, “You are not alone.”
The dozens of public defenders and supporters have gathered outside of Philly’s Federal Detention Center. They’re looking up to the windows, pressing their signs up high, and chanting, “You are not alone!” pic.twitter.com/AUN3Rgv1o4
The group called for the city to invest in the Public Defender’s Office instead of the Police Department, to give public defenders overtime pay, end solitary confinement in juvenile detention, and end mass incarceration.
“This goes far beyond George Floyd,” said Hassan Bennett, who was wrongfully convicted of a 2006 murder. “It goes to the systemic injustice that’s grown in our country for over 400 years.”
“When you come from the black and brown hood, you think there’s nobody on your side,” said Bennett, who has become an advocate for the Defender Association since his conviction was overturned in 2019. “But here at the Public Defenders Association, we stand with the people.”
Bennett was just one of many powerful speakers throughout the march.
“We have better solutions than the system has produced,” said Chief Defender Keir Bradford-Grey. “What has it done for us? It has given us lifetime records so we cannot have equal opportunity ... generational despair has been made because of this system.”
Petition against ‘militarized’ policing at University of Pennsylvania gains thousands of signatures
A petition calling on the University of Pennsylvania to end what organizers call a campus “police state” gained more than 10,000 signatures Sunday, one week after it launched.
Toorjo Ghose, an associate professor in the School of Social Policy & Practice, started the change.org petition against “militarized" policing after the May 25 death of George Floyd, who died when a Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee on his neck for almost nine minutes.
The petition calls out practices including “racially biased surveillance, reporting, arrest practices, the advocacy of militarized models of campus policing, and the implementation of policing measures that cut Penn off from the communities surrounding it."
‘I want to grow up ... not with a knee on my neck, not with a bullet in my back'
“I’m 11 years old!” Isaac Gardner Jr. yelled as tears streamed down his cheeks. “I want to grow up to be as long as I can live, so I can die peacefully, not with a knee on my neck, not with a bullet in my back.” pic.twitter.com/fQVW1oKQD3
Earlier Monday, Bologna, who faces a series of charges including aggravated assault, surrendered himself to the 15th District, where he was expected to be booked, fingerprinted, arraigned and later released.
Before Bologna turned himself in, more than 100 police officers gathered outside Lodge 5 of the Fraternal Order of Police in a show of support.
Fourteen Council members call for significant police reforms in letter to Mayor Jim Kenney
Fourteen of City Council’s 17 members have signed a letter to Mayor Jim Kenney calling for significant reforms to the Philadelphia Police Department following the protests of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson, whose office drafted the letter, said his top priority is changing the police arbitration process, which a 2019 Inquirer investigation found has allowed more than 100 questionable Philly cops who were disciplined or fired to have their sanctions reduced or overturned.
“The No. 1 thing would be making sure there’s a process in which, when bad cops who are held accountable are fired, they are actually fired,” said Johnson, who is vice chair of the Committee on Public Safety and chair of the Special Committee on Gun Violence Prevention.
He added that the current arbitration system, which is governed by the city’s contract with the police union, “actually takes away the trust of the community because they felt like that person should be held accountable for their actions.”
The Council members backed 15 specific reforms in the letter, which Johnson’s office sent to Kenney Monday. They called for community representatives and outside experts to have a seat at the table in contract negotiations between the city and police union; for an early warning system that tracks indicators of officers who are likely to conduct misconduct; for a prohibition of police sitting or kneeling on subjects’ neck, face or head; and for “fully resourced, independent police oversight.”
Council President Darrell L. Clarke and Public Safety Committee Chairman Curtis Jones Jr. were among the members who signed the letter. The only ones who did not are Brian O’Neill, David Oh and Bobby Henon.
Philadelphia public defenders join national march for black lives
Philadelphia’s public defenders are gathering in Center City, joining a national coalition of public defenders to march in protest against the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery, and “the systemic injustices faced by Black and Brown communities.”
The protest is expected to stop at the Philadelphia police headquarters, ICE detention center, federal detention center, federal courthouse, family courthouse, and end at the city’s criminal justice center.
Ellyn Sapper has been a Philly public defender for 32 years & primarily works w/ children. Bc of COVID worries, she hadn’t attended other marches, but she couldn’t miss this one. “I had to be here. If you’d seen some of the restraints they use on children, you’d be here too.” pic.twitter.com/17eGVbxmd3
Biden does not support defunding police, spokesperson says
Former Vice President Joe Biden does not support growing calls to defund the police, a campaign spokesperson told reporters Monday.
“As his criminal justice proposal made clear months ago, Vice President Biden does not believe that police should be defunded," spokesperson Andrew Bates said.
“He hears and shares the deep grief and frustration of those calling out for change, and is driven to ensure that justice is done and that we put a stop to this terrible pain,” Bates added. “Biden supports the urgent need for reform — including funding for public schools, summer programs, and mental health and substance abuse treatment separate from funding for policing — so that officers can focus on the job of policing.”
On Sunday, after stopping to speak in Philadelphia earlier in the week, Biden — a long-time critic of former mayor Frank Rizzo — told the Inquirer in a statement that he supported Mayor Jim Kenney’s decision to remove the city’s statue of Rizzo, adding that he “should have never had a statue in the first place.”
Bail set at $1 million for Derek Chauvin, officer charged in George Floyd’s death
A judge on Monday set $1 million bail for a Minneapolis police officer charged with second-degree murder in George Floyd’s death.
Derek Chauvin, 44, said almost nothing during an 11-minute hearing in which he appeared before Hennepin County Judge Denise Reilly on closed-circuit television from the state’s maximum security prison in Oak Park Heights. His attorney, Eric Nelson, did not contest the bail — raised from the $500,000 initially set in the case — and didn’t address the substance of the charges, which also include third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
ACLU joins family of George Floyd in calling for U.N. investigation into U.S. police killings of black people
The American Civil Liberties Union has joined the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Philando Castile, Michael Brown and over 600 human rights groups from across the globe in urging the United Nations Human Rights Council to independently investigate the police killings of black people and the suppression of protests in the United States.
BREAKING: Together with the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Philando Castile, and Michael Brown, we’re demanding the U.N. investigate police killings of Black people and violent attacks on protesters in the United States. pic.twitter.com/GUFzi8onV6
Floyd’s family and their attorney, Benjamin Crump, wrote a letter to the United Nations last week, asking the global organization to investigate Floyd’s death and advocate police reform and for federal charges against the involved officers.
U.S. officials consistently fail to hold police accountable for the killings of black citizens, Crump wrote, depriving them of the fundamental right to life.
Pa. House Democrats block start of voting session to demand police reforms from GOP
State House Democrats on Monday took control of the chamber and refused to allow a voting session to begin, imploring Republican leadership to allow 19 bills enacting police reforms to move forward in the wake of the killing of George Floyd and widespread protests.
“For 13 days, folks have been protesting in the streets, demanding that we actually do something. Now we are here demanding that you actually do something,” Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta said in an impassioned speech, echoing other black lawmakers calling on Speaker Mike Turzai (R., Allegheny) to take action.
“You should come up from your seats, come up here and demand that we don’t get to business as usual,” Kenyatta (D., Philadelphia) told his white colleagues. “That we don’t get the same speeches and lip service. We demand that we get meaningful police reform passed out of the Pennsylvania House. It’s the people’s house, and if we aren’t doing the people’s business, then we aren’t doing business."
He added: “We can’t go back to normal. The folks in our districts cannot allow us to come back home and say that we introduced a bill. They need movement. They need movement."
Lawmakers knelt for 8 minutes and 46 seconds — the amount of time a police officer held his knee against George Floyd’s neck.
Boat House Row to light up in gold as tribute to George Floyd
Philadelphia’s Boat House Row will light up in gold Monday night as a tribute to George Floyd, who will be laid to rest in Houston on Tuesday.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner has asked mayors across the country to honor Floyd’s life with light displays in their cities. Floyd was a graduate of Jack Yates High School in Houston, whose colors are crimson and gold.
Head of Pa. charter schools group steps down after posting that Floyd protesters ‘disgust me’
The executive director of a Pennsylvania charter school advocacy group has stepped down after posting on Facebook that George Floyd protesters “disgust me,” and “all lives matter.”
Ana Meyers had apologized on Friday night for the comments, saying that "as the wife of a retired state trooper, my instinct was to defend the many good and honorable law enforcement officers in Pennsylvania."
On Monday, the Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools said in a statement, "We have determined that new leadership is in the best interests of our member schools and the families they serve across the state. We thank Ana Meyers for her tireless efforts over the past three years to create more educational opportunities for students in Pennsylvania, especially minority and economically disadvantaged students, in public charter schools.”
Booker: ‘We have a wildly different set of experiences with the police’
New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker said the U.S. is one nation, but “we have a wildly different set of experiences with the police.”
Booker, speaking Monday during a Senate press conference to unveil new police reform legislation, said black Americans disproportionately have their rights violated and experience violence at the hands of police officers.
“We must change laws and systems of accountability,” Booker said, noting that legislation being proposed by Democrats would make it easier to hold bad cops accountable and would create a national registry of police misconduct to record and track police abuses.
Sen Kamala Harris, speaking after Booker, said the benchmark for the use of police force needs to change from “was it reasonable?” to “was it necessary?” She also pressed local leaders to invest more in affordable housing and public education if they want to secure a safe community.
"We have confused having safe communities with hiring more cops on the street,” Harris said.
The legislation has more than 200 co-sponsors in both chambers of Congress, but is not expected to pass through the Republican-controlled Senate.
Public viewing for George Floyd underway in Houston
Mourners are able to view George Floyd’s casket Monday in his hometown of Houston, the final stop of a series of memorials in his honor.
A six-hour viewing is being held at The Fountain of Praise church in southwest Houston. The viewing is scheduled to take place from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Central time (1 p.m. to 7 p.m. Eastern time), but mourners began showing up hours before the public viewing, according to the Houston Chronicle.
The viewing is open to the public, though visitors will be required to wear a mask and gloves to comply with coronavirus-related guidelines.
Floyd’s funeral will be Tuesday, followed by burial at the Houston Memorial Gardens cemetery in suburban Pearland, where he will be laid to rest next to his mother, Larcenia Floyd.
One officer started a GoFundMe for Bologna, which had collected more than $22,000 as of Monday morning. And on Twitter, the FOP announced that it would begin raising money for Bologna this week by selling T-shirts for $20 a pop at its headquarters. The shirts feature the union’s logo, and a new slogan in large blue and white letters on a black background: Bologna Strong.
Dozens of officers — both in and out of uniform — gathered outside of Lodge 5 of the Fraternal Order of Police on Monday in a show of support.
They applauded him as he left the lodge escorted by his lawyer Fortunato Perri Jr. and police union head John McNesby just after 8:30 a.m. to an SUV waiting to drive him to the police district. By 9, he had arrived to be booked, processed and arraigned.
Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw pulled Bologna from street duty and promised a methodical and thorough internal affairs investigation on Friday. But District Attorney Larry Krasner announced within hours his office would be charging Bologna with a crime.
The move has drawn sharp criticism from McNesby, who has defended Bologna as one of the most-dedicated officers on the force.
Armed man crashes into barricade, shoots Seattle protester
An armed driver barreled toward a crowd of protesters in Seattle on Sunday, shooting one demonstrator before ultimately surrendering to police, according to authorities and video footage of the incident.
The violence interrupted a peaceful protest in the name of George Floyd near the Seattle Police Department's East Precinct just before 8:30 p.m. Sunday.
Videos showed protesters appearing to chase after a black Honda Civic as it sped down the street toward a larger crowd, slowing just as it crashed into a metal barrier near an intersection. One protester caught up to the vehicle, video by the Seattle Times shows. The man appeared to try to reach inside the driver’s side window, when a shot rang out.
Seattle police said the unidentified suspect is in custody and that a gun was recovered from the scene. The Seattle Fire Department said the 27-year-old victim was transported to the hospital and is in stable condition.
High school students in Collingswood are planning a peaceful protest Monday to honor those lost to police brutality following the death of George Floyd.
Demonstrators are planning to meet at the Krispy Kreme at the corner of Haddon and Collings Avenues beginning at 4 p.m., and march to Knight Park in front of Collingswood High School. According to organizers, the march will end with speakers, poetry, song, and a silent moment that will last eight minutes, 46 seconds.
“…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," Temple president Richard M. Englert, Provost JoAnne A. Epps, and Executive Vice President Kevin G. Clark said in a statement Sunday night.
Temple University leaders Sunday night pledged to arrange meetings with city police to discuss student concerns about police behavior. But the university said it would not sever ties with the city Police Department as leaders of the university’s student government requested last week.
“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,” the officials said.
— Cameron Alli - #BlackLivesMatter (@camalli98) June 7, 2020
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and his wife, First Lady Tammy Murphy, joined protesters participating in two separate marches on Sunday, donning a face masks in photos shared on his social media accounts.
Murphy said he was invited to a protest in Westfield by Nala Angella Scott, a high school junior and the march’s organizer who wrote a letter to the governor about the struggle growing up a black woman in a “predominately white town.” In a tweet, Murphy called Scott’s letter “heartbreaking and powerful.”
“’I’m in awe of Nala’s courage — the same courage we’re seeing from young people across our nation,” Murphy wrote. “But I’m angry and devastated that we live in a nation where they have to protest for their right to live.”
Today, in Hillside, we marched for justice.
For George Floyd and for the many before him – who lost their lives for being Black.
We march because we will not accept systemic racism and bias as just part of our national condition. Black Lives Matter. pic.twitter.com/JGe00Xa1qS
The ninth day of protests in Philly ended peacefully Sunday, with no curfew
Protests ignited by the police killing of George Floyd continued across the Philadelphia region for a ninth straight day on Sunday, all of them peaceful and smaller than during previous days of contention and violence.