By Howard Monroe

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — If you’re voting in Philadelphia, there’s more on the ballot than just candidates running for office. There are also four ballot questions, two of which deal with police reform.

“The most protest that you can do happens at the ballot box on Tuesday. It is not your civic responsibility alone, it is your duty,” State Rep. Jordan Harris said.

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A get out the vote message, not for the candidates, but for police reforms. There are two questions on the ballot in Philadelphia that, if approved, would change police policy.

“Who should police the police? The answer to that question is we the people. Every profession has to have checks and balances,” City Councilmember Curtis Jones said.

Question one is asking to ban the use of stop and frisk. Question three would recreate a Citizens Police Oversight Commission. If approved, it would be a permanent part of city government and would evaluate police officer conduct.

“These are important questions. These are questions that are going to answer that pain that a lot of people are feeling this week,” State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta said.

They say these reforms may have prevented 27-year-old Walter Wallace Jr.’s death.

His mother called the police on Monday asking for help. She later said her son was in a mental health crisis. In an altercation with police, in which Wallace Jr. was holding a knife, he was shot and killed.

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“We must vote on Tuesday. Not like our lives depend on it, but because our lives depend on it,” Harris said.

They say instead of rioting and looting, to use your voice at the ballot box.

“Walter Wallace can’t vote, but you can,” activist Michael Tabon said. “If you can’t vote for yourself and you were out there in that riot and you had enough energy to stand out there 3 o’clock, 4 o’clock in the morning throwing rocks and bottles then you got to have enough energy to walk into a voting booth and push a button to save somebody’s life.”

The police union is opposed to these two ballot questions. They said in a statement that the constitution and department directives “offer appropriate protections for all Philadelphians.”


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