Philadelphia City Council approved legislation, 14-3 vote, that prohibits law enforcement officers from using “less-lethal munitions,” such as rubber bullets, tear gas, and pepper spray on demonstrators.
The vote comes days after social unrest was sparked in the City of Brotherly Love – over the police shooting of Walter Wallace Jr., and days before the Nov. 03 presidential elections. The legislation is expected to be signed momentarily by Democratic Mayor Jim Kenney, who is trying to appease local constituents/demonstrators.
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.”
Gym continued: “This is a moment where repairing trust between our residents, public officials, and police are essential. 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.”
While most councilmembers support the bill, three councilmembers, including Republican Councilmembers David Oh and Brian J. O’Neill, along with Democrat Bobby Henon, voted against it. Their opposition stemmed from what they said would be the “chilling effects” of police officers not having the right tools to enforce public safety.
Philadelphia Mayor’s Office released an update Thursday of the overall situation in the metro area. At least 11 ATMs were blown up across town, 57 police officers injured, and over 212 felony or misdemeanors arrests.
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf was quick to deploy the Pennsylvania National Guard on Tuesday with mandatory curfews on Wednesday.
Readers may recall, other Democratic cities banned “less-than-lethal” weapons earlier this year, following the George Floyd protests.
Seattle City Council voted unanimously to ban police from chokeholds, tear gas, pepper spray, and other crowd-control weapons in June.
This is another example of pandering urban Democrats, placing their political interest above police officers’ health and safety and the community they are supposed to be protecting.
Also, suppose officers, barred from carrying “less-lethal munitions,” what happens when they’re forced into a situation where they have no alternative in firing their service weapon?