PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Protesters turn a Philadelphia City Council meeting into chaos on Thursday morning.
Several Black Is Back demonstrators disrupted the session shortly before noon, protesting police-involved shootings.
Organizers say they want the council to pass a bill that allows the black community to control policing in their neighborhood.
The protest started out quietly enough when Carnell Williams-Carney was wheeled to the microphone during the public testimony portion of the council meeting, and told the story of how Officer Ryan Pownall — recently fired in connection with the shooting death of David Jones — shot him as he was running away.
“By the grace of God, I didn’t die, but I would not like my voice to not go unheard,” he said.
Williams-Carney was followed by a number of activists who gradually elevated the volume and refused to cede the microphone until sheriff’s deputies intervened.
Deputies say threats were launched at council members.
“This is not us asking you. This is us demanding that this happen. It’s going to turn a nice little bourgeois City Council meeting into a revolutionary occupation,” said protester Megan Malachy.
Council President Darrell Clarke says they followed protocol.
“If you want to speak you can do that. If you determine that you’re going to disrupt the council session, under the law, you’re not able to continue to do that,” said Clarke.
Clarke noted he co-sponsored a bill introduced that would beef up the Police Advisory Commission, in an effort to address some of the protesters’ issues.
CBS3 was the only television station at City Hall when the protest broke out.
Tempers flared as more and more deputies surrounded a group of about a dozen protesters. Malachy was led out and wouldn’t say if she was under arrest.
The sheriff’s department handled the incident and arrested five protesters.
“It started to get out of control and they started to talk about it would be a revolution,” said Sheriff Jewell Williams.
They will face disorderly conduct charges.
Earlier in the day, the coalition held a rally near the Frank Rizzo statue in Center City.