PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It’s been one year since a peaceful protest over the death of George Floyd turned into several days of unrest in Philadelphia. People set police cars and buildings on fire and looted stores. Law enforcement tear-gassed protesters.
Eyewitness News reporter Howard Monroe tells us what’s been done to heal relationships in order for this to not happen again.READ MORE: Stray Bullet Kills Man Eating Thanksgiving Dinner Inside Norristown Home, Police Say
“First, you have to tackle the conversation that the George Floyd killing sparked,” Tommy Blackwell VI, with Backwell Cultural Alliance, said. “It’s finally a good time to talk policing and how it feels to be Black in America.”
Using images from a year ago to spark change. It’s been one year since thousands of people marched through the streets of Philadelphia following the death of George Floyd.
What began as a peaceful protest on May 30, 2020, quickly deteriorated.
A police car was set on fire, stores were looted and the city changed forever. Tommy Blackwell VI and his wife Saj say the May 30 events led to a number of changes in the city — including police reforms.READ MORE: Philadelphia Sets New Record With 501st Homicide In Single Year After Man Killed In East Mount Airy
“Let’s be perfectly clear,” Blackwell said. “Police have to be safe, but they have to be safe within the policies of police procedure.”
One of the things they say could continue to move the conversation further and community-police relations is the Police Oversight Commission which is currently being implemented.
The husband and wife duo lead the Blackwell Cultural Alliance — a violence prevention organization in West Philadelphia. They say what could help situations from getting out of hand is de-escalation training.
“You can’t always bring a gun to a knife fight as my wife says,” Blackwell said. “There needs to be clinicians on the streets, there needs to be behavioral health technicians on the streets.”
In addition to the oversight commission, anti-violence groups like the Blackwells are asking the city for $100 million, so they can help keep the peace.MORE NEWS: Man Charged After Juvenile Shot In Alleged Road Rage Incident In Lehigh County, Police Say
“We’re championing this idea of funding,” Saj said. “There are groups that are out there doing the work. It can be done.”