Officers Use of Non-Lethal Devices Restricted Against Philadelphia Protesters
As protests continue in Philadelphia, the city council has passed a bill restricting their police force. On Monday, 27-year-old Walter Wallace Jr. was shot dead by police in the middle of a residential neighborhood after failing to comply with instructions to drop his weapon. He was holding a knife while in the middle of a mental health crisis and the family had called for an ambulance to help calm him down. Outrage broke out across the city following the news, with reports of peaceful protests, but also of violence, looting, rioting, fires being set, numerous arrests, and more. In a 14 to 3 vote, the Philadelphia City Council has now passed a bill banning police use of tear gas, rubber bullets, and pepper spray during protests or other first amendment protected activities. This comes after a Philly officer was charged in July for pepper spraying three protesters without provocation. The new order does not entirely prevent officers from using these less lethal devices, but does restrict their use against peaceful protesters.