PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — After days of protests calling for change, it appears as though Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney’s administration is listening. This afternoon he detailed a list of police reforms.
Meanwhile, a round table discussion sponsored by Philadelphia City Councilman Kenyatta Johnson got underway Tuesday afternoon.
A big part of this discussion is youth groups. Johnson said he wants to use this to build bridges between the community and law enforcement.
“If young men aren’t on the basketball courts playing basketball, or our youth aren’t playing football, and they don’t have that opportunity this summer, the other alternative is standing on the corner, the other alternative is carrying a gun,” Johnson said.
It’s the latest outcome from 10 days of protests over the killing of George Floyd at the hand of a Minneapolis police officer.
Over the course of many of these protests, people have demanded police reforms.
This afternoon, Mayor Kenney released 13 new reforms they intend to implement.
They include updates to use of force policies, creating a civilian oversight commission and new staff will be hired to focus on misconduct and brutality.
There are also changes coming to collective bargaining with the police union.
Also, the mayor is eliminating the increase in the police department’s budget. He had proposed to increase their budget by $ 14 million.
On Monday, 14 of the city’s 17 council members indicated they wouldn’t approve the increase. The mayor conceded it was a losing battle.
“Part of that additional money was for expansion for body cameras and other training that we wanted to do on bias and anti-racist training so we’ll try to figure out a way to get that done another way. But it was clear we weren’t going to have votes for the increase and we’ll readjust,” Kenney said.
Johnson was one of those council members who signed that letter. He says he would like to spend that money on job training, violence prevention programs, library funding and parks and recreational facilities.
Mayor Kenney also responded to questions regarding protesters wanting to defund the police.
“What we saw around the country last week was disgraceful when it came to some police department responses, including here. There were some difficult things that we saw, that part of the issue needs to be addressed directly,” Kenney said.
“The other part of it is what do police do? What is their role in society? Is it responding to mental health issues? Is it responding to domestic disputes? Is it responding to high-level crime? We have to figure out what the role of police will be going forward,” the mayor said.
Police Commissioner Danielle outlaw answered questions about the controversial stop-and-frisk policy.
“I think it’s a very helpful tool for law enforcement to have but we have to ensure sure there are mechanisms in place to make sure we are not overusing them or misusing them,” said Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw.
That was not one of the police reforms outlined by the mayor.
As for the budget, it’s due by the end of this month.