PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia City Council will hold a hearing Wednesday afternoon on the police response to Black Lives Matter protests in the city, namely the protests that occurred in May and June when police used tear gas, rubber bullets and pepper spray on demonstrators.
The hearing in front of City Council is being held to give people a chance to talk about what they experience during protests in the city earlier this year and to hold public officials accountable and better policing here in the City of Philadelphia.
“We really need to hear directly from people,” Philadelphia Councilwoman Helen Gym said. “What people are talking about right now will be critically important to decisions that the city will make and ultimately to legislative and policy changes that could ensure as well.”
Gym is prepared to listen to more than two dozen speakers today.
Many of them are people who took to the streets of Philadelphia following George Floyd’s death, calling for an end to systematic racism and police brutality.
“I think it gives a fuller picture of what happened across the city during a lot of days of civil unrest,” Gym said.
The hearing comes as the council focuses on police reform, especially following the widely-criticized use of force on demonstrators on I-676 back on June 1.
A Philadelphia SWAT officer was captured on video removing a kneeling protester’s mask and pepper spraying that person in the face.
Gym says hearing stories like these is just the beginning.
“If we have even a shot at convincing people that things are going to change, that we can make change right now, we’re going to have to walk that journey with a lot of people,” Gym said. “Maybe have a chance to change things.”
The hearing starts at 4:30 p.m. at City Hall.