PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney took a knee with protesters Saturday afternoon. An estimated 6,000 demonstrators peacefully marched from the Art Museum to City Hall and throughout the city demanding justice for George Floyd and calling for the end of racism and police brutality.
Kenney called this past week “humbling” and said there’s “a great deal more for me to learn.”
The mayor wrote on Facebook:
“This week has been humbling. It has shown me—someone who considers themselves to be progressive and an ally—that there is a great deal more for me to learn.
Black voices have been silenced for too long. We must hear those voices and act on their demands.
We are beginning to take action against officers we’ve seen acting inappropriately, and we will continue to do so. Excessive force will not be tolerated.
We’ll have more to share on our other commitments to address issues of police violence in the near future.
We must focus on reconciliation, understanding, listening—and yes, action.
This marks the beginning of a path toward real change in Philadelphia, and hopefully across America.”
Saturday’s protest began at 12 p.m. at the Art Museum before heading to City Hall and then back to the museum. There remained a large gathering at City Hall on Saturday evening.
The protest was organized by the Party for Socialism and Liberation. The group is asking for many things, including defunding police.
“It is disrupting the status quo,” Eugene Puryear, an organizer and founding member of the Party for Socialism and Liberation, said. “And we believe that’s what’s needed to really force change. Not to take politicians at their word, but to say business, as usual, will not take place until it changes.”
Meanwhile, four members of Philadelphia’s City Council are calling for a cease and desist on police use of tear gas and rubber bullets less than a week after police say SWAT officers used tear gas and non-chemical white smoke to disperse a crowd of protesters from the Vine Street Expressway. An independent investigation into the use of tear gas is underway by City Controller Rebecca Rhynhart’s office.
On Friday, District Attorney Larry Krasner announced his intent to file aggravated assault charges against Philadelphia Police Staff Inspector Joseph Bologna after video shows him striking a protester with a baton.
The city is under a mandatory curfew for the eighth straight night until 6 a.m. Sunday.