Open Letter on Police Reform and Social Justice

Open Letter on Police Reform and Social Justice

Philly Set Go Friends:

We are experiencing a time of historic civil unrest. As we continue to grapple with the senseless deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Amhaud Arbery, and countless other people, it is more important now than ever to stand alongside our Black and Brown neighbors and community members.

Philly Set Go condemns and denounces all forms of racism and systematic oppression, and we remain committed to our mission of collaborating with civic leaders to drive toward concrete and meaningful reform that addresses injustice at all levels of state power. As part of this commitment, we write in support of proposed reforms that require action on the part of the Pennsylvania State Legislature. Philly Set Go supports the following policy proposals and we encourage our elected officials to formally introduce them as legislation or, where they have been introduced, work to ensure their passage:

·       Outlaw the police chokehold or using pressure to airways to detain citizens;

·       Require mandatory drug testing after police-involved shootings;

·       Prohibit language interfering with police misconduct investigations, discipline, disciplinary action and discipline records from being included in police collective bargaining agreements;

·       Eliminate effectuating an arrest as justification for the use of deadly force;

·       Improve access to police video footage by requiring all non-body camera police video to be subject to the Right to Know law;

·       Develop an oversight board to professionally certify, train, and provide continual education to police officers. The oversight board will have disciplinary power and will provide the public with a venue where behavioral misconduct concerns will be addressed;

·       Establish and implement an independent review process when police kill or seriously injure civilians;

·       Require law enforcement officers to be regularly tested for PTSD;

·       Create a confidential database within the Attorney General’s office to track officer complaints that law enforcement agencies can search to identify probable causes  for concern before hiring an officer that is separated from another law enforcement agency;

·       Require law enforcement officers to be mandated reporters of police misconduct, corruption, and brutality. Any office who willfully fails to do so would be criminally liable.

These reforms are necessary to ensure that our government treats every citizen, regardless of race or background, equally under the law.  We know this is just the beginning of a series of long overdue reforms that address systemic racism, some of which, locally, involve collective bargaining contract negotiations. To that end, we also support re-establishing residency requirements for the PPD; providing the Commissioner the authority to transfer officers at their discretion without input from the FOP; overhauling the PPD disciplinary code; eliminating disciplinary record expungement; and making future contract negotiations subject to a public comment period. We encourage you to also write or call your local representatives in support of the reforms outlined.

By continuing to engage our friends, families, neighbors, elected officials, and others in these important conversations, we can achieve the justice and fair and equal treatment under the law that all citizens deserve.

In Solidarity,

Philly Set Go