Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey addressed the controversial topics of criminal justice reform and police brutality at a barber shop recently, and a brief video of his comments has been shared hundreds of times on Facebook.
Ramsey took questions from visitors to Hewitts Barbershop in the West Oak Lane neighborhood as he sat in the barber's seat getting a haircut Wednesday .
"Yeah, I got bad cops, no doubt about that," Ramsey said after noting that African Americans killed by police represent a minuscule fraction of African American homicide victims. Furthermore, he noted, residents are not as afraid of police as they are of criminals on the street.
"Why are you scared to walk out at night? Is it because you're scared of the police or because you're scared of the guy that's standing around the corner," Ramsey asked. "Let's not BS each other here."
The video posted on Facebook, was filmed by an attendee at the event, which was put on as part of a podcast the police department produces called "Commish Chat," and shows only a brief segment of the commissioner's comments. The department will release its full version of the event sometime this week, a spokesperson said.
Ramsey also addressed the rights of ex-convicts in the clip. Ex-convicts, he said, should be permitted to vote again after incarceration and should receive more social services. A better safety net for ex-cons would reduce recidivism, he said.
"You ought to have full rights restored to you at some point in time," he said.
"What's waiting for them on the other side? And if it ain't nothing there what do you think they're going to do? What would you do? We all got to eat. We all have to survive," Ramsey said. "So if you don't have something for them folks, whatcha gonna do?"
"He gets very candid," said police spokesperson Sgt. Eric Gripp.
The past podcasts can be found at https://soundcloud.com/commishchat.