The sixth day of protests in Philadelphia saw peaceful demonstrations focused on unity, and also saw protests ripple across the suburbs, from the Main Line to Norristown. Here are pictures of what that looked like. Also, after some uncertainty earlier in the week, Philadelphia will move into the “yellow” phase of Gov. Tom Wolf’s coronavirus reopening plan.
A Temple University student was arrested during Monday’s protests and was being held on allegations that he had assaulted a police officer by pushing him off a bike, causing him to break a hand.
The student, Evan Gorski, was released from custody on Wednesday after video surfaced of Gorski appearing to try to separate an officer and a protester, then immediately retreating when another officer raised his baton. The video then shows a police officer striking him in the head with a baton and another using his knee to pin his face to the street. The charges were dismissed after prosecutors viewed the videos.
The incident is being investigated, according to a police spokesperson.
“The police were lying,” Gorski’s lawyer said. “We had a protest against police brutality, and then police brutalize my client and try to frame him for a crime he didn’t commit.”
Outrage over police injustice is older than the nation itself, my colleague Valerie Russ writes. Yesterday, those protesting demanded a set of police reforms. Gov. Tom Wolf announced that he would appoint a watchdog and create a commission to investigate alleged misconduct by state police and the other law enforcement agencies he oversees. And, Philly’s police commissioner told cops that they could not cover their badge numbers with mourning crepe.
Philadelphia’s retailers, day cares, and offices will be allowed to reopen today. For the last 10 weeks or so, the region has largely been in lockdown mode. Bucks, Montgomery, Delaware, and Chester Counties will also make this move today.
The city’s shift to the yellow phase of Gov. Tom Wolf’s coronavirus plan comes even as there were some concerns about how the past week of protests could alter Philly’s plans to begin loosening restrictions.
Here’s a list of the Pennsylvania businesses that can be open during the yellow phase.
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“So again, to be clear, my request of you, as my white friend, is for you to acknowledge the current state of existence for black people in this country, without exception. Recognize and denounce systems of injustice in this country that are used to continue the marginalization, intimidation, and degradation of black people, without exception.” — writes Tracy Motley, a teacher at Episcopal Academy, in an open letter to her white friends.