The Philadelphia City Council, in a 14-3 vote, approved a measure that bans police use of “less-lethal munitions,” such as rubber bullets, tear gas and pepper spray, on demonstrators.
As of Thursday, at least 11 ATMs were blown up across Philadelphia, 57 police officers were injured, and over 212 felony or misdemeanors arrests have been made.
Councilmember Helen Gym, the bill’s prime sponsor, said, “in banning the police use of less-lethal munitions in response to demonstrations, we are answering the calls of our constituents.”
“Residential neighborhoods are not warzones. Demonstrators are not enemy combatants. This is a first step in working with our communities to build a new model for public safety that is driven by their needs and their vision for the future,” she added.
The violence in Philadelphia comes in the wake of the killing of Walter Wallace Jr., an Africa-American man who police officers shot and killed during a confrontation in which Wallace was armed with a knife. Wallace’s family said the 27-year-old suffered from bipolar disorder and was in crisis at the time of the shooting.