Philadelphia City Council will begin this week the process of materializing a new Citizens Police Oversight Commission. The creation of the commission was approved by voters in November.
As stated by a KYW Newsradio report, Councilmember Curtis Jones sponsored the bill that put the referendum on the ballot, and he projects to introduce the enabling legislation for it on Thursday. He said it will be 25 to 30 pages long and will have the following goals: Better management of police-community interactions and trust in the new process from both police and citizens.
The creation of the oversight commission was approved by voters in November. This process comes after a series of events where police violated their use-of-force policies several times during protests over the killing of George Floyd, according to an independent review.
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This includes an incident where Philadelphia police boxed protesters in on I-676 and tear-gassed people who were trying to flee, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
“If you have a transparent process and you have the authorization to investigate and clear rules and procedures of engagement, you can do those things and no, you’re not going to get 100 % of the decisions go your way, but you’re going to get 100 % fairness all the time,” Jones said.
Some details related to the oversight commission are still pending, such as how commission members will be selected. And Jones expects the bill will be a work in progress right up until it’s voted on.
He said he consulted with community groups and the police union in crafting the bill.
In a statement, Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said the department is looking forward to taking part in initiatives that will improve its relationship with those it serves.