The killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis late last month galvanized people around the world in protests against police brutality and racism. And those in Philadelphia are starting to make an impact, from the dismantling of city displays that some believe symbolize a painful past to politicians calling for changes to police conduct.
Two weeks have passed since a Minneapolis police officer knelt on George Floyd’s neck, killing him and sparking a national uprising. And in Philadelphia, where thousands marched in peaceful demonstrations against police brutality and to declare that Black Lives Matter this past weekend, things might be starting to change.
The Rizzo statue and mural are no more — considered by some to be symbols of racist policies targeting Philly’s black and gay communities. And, City Council members have called on police to stop using tear gas and rubber bullets.
On June 8, 2017, Officer Ryan Pownall shot 30-year-old David Jones twice in the back after stopping Jones for riding a dirt bike. It was the second time in Pownall’s career that he shot someone who was running from police. At that time, it had been two decades since a Philadelphia police officer faced criminal charges for an on-duty shooting.
City leaders, though, had talked publicly about holding police accountable. And the fallout of this case could still be felt in Philadelphia last week after what often began as peaceful protests sometimes devolved into violent clashes between officers and demonstrators.
Here’s one example: The notorious Philly cop who was charged with beating a Temple student has a checkered and charmed past. Officer Joseph Bologna Jr., a 31-year Philadelphia police veteran, has been pulled off the street after video surfaced both of his confrontation with the Temple student and of the inspector lunging at a TV reporter, striking his security guard. And grabbing a young woman who apparently tapped his bicycle tire. During his career, the South Philly native has often found himself at the center of controversy over police misconduct.
On Friday, Philly and its surrounding Pennsylvania counties moved to the next stage of Gov. Tom Wolf’s coronavirus reopening plan, which essentially lifts the stay-at-home order but still has restrictions in place. For example, businesses are allowed to reopen, but many have to limit to 50% capacity. Other measures could be taken too, such as SEPTA requiring all riders to wear face coverings.
Across the state, 12 more Pennsylvania counties moved to the “green,” or least-restrictive, phase of Wolf’s plan. That represents about 40% of the state’s population.
If you have questions about what you can and can’t do in the “yellow” phase, I don’t blame you. It can get confusing. Can you go on a date now? Can your dog get groomed? What businesses are even allowed to be open? If you have a question, you might be able to find the answer here, or you can submit a question for our newsroom to try to answer.
Thanks for sharing this great pic, @staceyelle.
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“This is a moment for Philadelphia to reimagine its police department — its responsibilities, tactics, and accountability measures — as well as who gets a say in shaping its future.” — The Inquirer Editorial Board writes about changing the police department to one “that Philadelphia deserves.”