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Photo: Kimberly Paynter/WHYY
Photo: Kimberly Paynter/WHYY

Philadelphia City Council catches the wave of police reform: No more police chokeholds or kneeholds

It’s been a long week for Philadelphia’s law enforcement and City Council to rethink their policies and enact laws that would finally implement treating people…

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Protesting, 14 councilmembers rejecting the budget, Mayor Jim Kenney releasing a statement supporting police reform- so what is next for the city of Philadelphia? In a virtual meeting on Thursday June 11, all the proposed courses of action were reviewed by the city’s councilmembers.

One course of action was new reform legislation, which came in a bundle.

Under new legislation, Philadelphia Police Department employees would be required to live inside the city for one year prior to civil service employment. Police officers would also need to attend public hearings before signing union contracts. 

A previous AL DÍA article this week mentioned the proposed agenda, including a civilian oversight commission, which was also introduced as legislation yesterday by Council Majority Whip Curtis Jones Jr. 

“Most professions have checks and balances, that from time to time keep them on their toes,” he said. 

Furthermore, another bill called “let Philly breathe,” presented by Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson on Thursday explicitly prohibits use-of-force actions like kneeholds and chokehold under city law. 

In a press release from his Philadelphia council, Council President Darrell Clarke said he and his colleagues were paying attention to the uprisings around the city. 

“City Council is closely following the demonstrations and calls for reform in how policing is conducted in Philadelphia. We hear you. We get it. Council is listening, and Council is acting,” he said.

Though the city of Philadelphia has followed suit in talking about police reform, only time will tell if these legislations are passed into law and if the law enforcement budget will actually see no increase and perhaps even cutbacks. 

“We have to act boldly and swiftly to address them and begin the healing. Everything must change. We cannot go back to that old normal. We need to create a ‘New Normal’ by addressing these disparities head on in our budget process. The New Normal Budget Act does that,” Clarke said in his closing statement. 

City Council is required to approve the proposed fiscal year budget by the end of June, with it going  into effect July 1. 

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