By Cherri Gregg
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Civil rights groups are responding to the long-awaited Department of Justice report released yesterday that analyzes Philadelphia’s police-involved shootings. The report is highly critical of the Philadelphia Police department citing deficiencies in training and transparency.
The report looks at more than 350 officer involved shootings spanning from 2007 to 2013. In 80% of cases the suspects were African-American, and in 15% of cases, the suspect was unarmed. The DOJ is recommending 91 separate recommendations for change.
“We’ve been tooting this horn for some time,” says Kelvyn Anderson, who runs the civil-run Police Advisory Commission. The report recommends that police better cooperate with his agency by allowing them better access to police shooting scenes and the ability to ask questions, “To actually bring an independent voice on the ground when these shootings occur.”
“I think it’s a really good start,” says Reggie Shufords, who runs the ACLU of Pennsylvania. “It’s a thorough and comprehensive report.”
Shufords says the reports’ stats underscore the need for better policing in communities of color.
Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey called in the DOJ nearly two years ago after a spike in police involved shootings. The number has since declined, but the report cites lack of de-escalation training, investigation procedures, and cooperation with the Police Advisory Commission as major problems.
Ramsey says the department has already begun implementing some of the proposed recommendations.
“We certainly are looking at each and every one and looking for a strategy for implementation,” he says. “We have nothing to fear. we called in the DOJ and we knew it wasn’t going to be a report about how great the Philadelphia police department is.”
The DOJ will oversee implementation and issue a report in six months.