By Natasha Brown

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia’s police commissioner announced sweeping changes to the department’s use of force policies. The new policies expand on the PPD’s ban on chokeholds that was implemented last year after the murder of George Floyd and the demonstrations that followed.

Last June, the calls for justice and police reform were heard across the country and in Philadelphia, thousands took to the streets following the murder of Floyd in Minneapolis — and weeks of civil unrest unfolded on city streets and highways.

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One year later, city officials unveiled extensive reform measures that have been put in place under the guidance of a 48 member diverse committee known as the Pathways to Reform, Transformation and Reconciliation Group.

Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw outlined sweeping reforms to the police department, specifically its use of force policies.

“Our policy on chokeholds previously banned was updated in June of 2020 to explicitly prohibit sitting or kneeling on a person’s neck, face, or head. PPD banned all use of tear gas for non-violent demonstrations. No-knock warrant entries of any kind are prohibited,” Outlaw said.

The Philadelphia Police Departments “Use of Force” reforms include:

  • A ban on sitting or kneeling on a person’s neck, face or head
  • A ban on the use of tear gas for all non-violent demonstrations
  • A ban on “no-knock warrant” entries

Police reform was an integral part of the plan, but other equity and diversity issues were also addressed, including removing controversial city landmarks like the Frank Rizzo statue in Center City.

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Officials say they are also hiring a diversity and inclusion leader for the police department.

The announcements are part of a reform initiative established last year after Floyd’s murder.

“The landmarks process continues and will set criteria for a process to rename or change any landmarks that do not meet inclusiveness, respect or diversity,” Deputy Mayor Cynthia Figueroa said.

Some community activists believe it’s been a productive year of change, a restoration of hope for Black and brown communities — but more work needs to be done.

“Being in the midst of those places with people who lack hope, I believe this committee in so many ways started to revitalize that hope for the young men and brothers I work with,” Pastor Carl Day said.

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Officials say this is not something that can be corrected in just a year. This is going to be an ongoing effort working with this steering committee to try to begin about real reform, real equity, real diversity and inclusion throughout the City of Philadelphia.