PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney has signed a bill that will likely keep many Democratic National Convention protestors out of jail.
The law decriminalizes many lower level offenses, such as disorderly conduct and public drunkenness. It is expected to keep thousands of cases out of the court system, including many that might have resulted from Democratic National Convention protests.READ MORE: Man Killed In Road Rage Shooting In Springfield Identified, Authorities Say
Mayor Kenney says decriminalizing nuisance behavior allows the city to take a less draconian approach to policing DNC protests:
“We want people to understand coming into the city that we are not a lock-’em-up city.”
Kenney adds the benefits will extend far beyond the convention:READ MORE: Fire Marshal Investigating Possible Case Of Arson In Philadelphia's Overbrook Section
“In making Philadelphia a fairer place for all, unclogging our criminal justice system, keeping people out of the prison pipeline.”
Yhe city is going to pains to make protestors comfortable, as long as they stay in designated areas. It released a diagram of how FDR park will be used, with six separate protest areas — four of which have already been claimed by Bernie Sanders supporters — and amenities such as misting tents and first aid stations.
It also announced street closings for the convention area: Broad Street between Packer and Terminal and Pattison from 7th to 20th Streets.MORE NEWS: 21-Year-Old Woman Killed After Disgruntled Patron Fires At Least 15 Shots Into Northeast Philadelphia Bar, Police Say
Sidewalks will be open and the subway will run all the way to AT&T station.