Member At-Large Helen Gym, the main sponsor of the bill, said: “I have participated in a lot of rallies over the past two decades without leading to the violence and chaos we’ve seen. In May and June 2020.
The Philadelphia Police Department last used such devices in 2000 during demonstrations at the Republican National Conference, according to Gym.
“The bill does not unilaterally remove less lethal equipment such as tear gas, rubber bullets, pepper spray, or the like from the police department’s arsenal,” Gym said. “It clearly states that they are not to be used against any individual participating in the activities covered by the First Amendment.”
The May and June protests were “a year of cooperation and work never before,” says Gym.
“This bill is the first step towards reaffirming that public protests do not contradict public safety and that reactions to public protests must not compromise public safety, apparently. clear and simple. “
Mike Dunn, Mayor Jim Kenney’s spokesman, said in a statement to CNN that the mayor supports the bill’s intention, which tries to codify the police department’s current policy.
CNN has reached out to the Philadelphia Police Department for further comment on their existing policies for less lethal devices.