After two weeks of protests and continued calls for police reform, legislation has been introduced in Philadelphia City Council to make some changes in the city’s police department. Democrats in Congress are also moving on reform plans.

And while outdoor dining is available in Philly starting today as part of the “yellow” reopening phase, another county in the region might have to delay moving to “green” because of its case numbers.

Council members introduced legislation yesterday that would ban police knee holds and choke holds as well as require newly recruited officers to have lived in the city for a year. This came after demonstrators’ calls for reform after the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Nationally, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker is leading a push for police reform alongside other black Democratic members of Congress and the party’s House and Senate leaders. They unveiled a police reform bill that could pass the House this month.

Protests that swept the nation came to Philadelphia on May 30. What started calmly at noon on that Saturday had given way by 4 p.m. to throngs of demonstrators converging on City Hall and the Municipal Services Building. Some chanted and waved signs, demanding justice for George Floyd. Others tried to pull down the statue of former Mayor Frank Rizzo, for many a painful reminder of the city’s history of police brutality, and threw bottles of urine and chemicals that left some officers hospitalized. Four police cruisers were engulfed by flames.

Chester is the only county in the Philadelphia region that has failed to meet two important benchmarks for continuing to ease coronavirus restrictions. And that could delay a move to the next reopening phase.

In Philadelphia, case numbers are down, and public health officials have said it’s OK to go out a little more, but that doesn’t mean we’re back to our old normal. Asymptomatic transmission is still a possibility and officials say there’s a “high” risk of community spread.

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Rob Tornoe's cartoon for Friday, June 12, 2020.
Rob Tornoe / Staff
Rob Tornoe's cartoon for Friday, June 12, 2020.

“How will the families of SEPTA workers get through the death of their loved ones without financial support? SEPTA needs to put its money where its mouth is and show its employees how much they value the extreme risks workers are taking to keep our city running.”writes Paul Prescod, a member of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers and co-chair of the Philly DSA Labor Commission, about why SEPTA should extend benefits to families of workers who died from COVID-19.

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Your Daily Dose of | The Upside

Walt Carey has been a school bus driver for 14 years, and 12 of those were in Lower Merion. When he decided to retire after this school year, he never expected his last day to be March 13 — the day the coronavirus forced the district to shift all its classes online. “That is the difficult thing. I wanted to tell the youngsters and their parents what a pleasure it was to drive them,” Carey said.