The Philadelphia City Council voted Thursday to ban police from “less lethal” munitions, such as tear gas, rubber bullets and pepper spray, on protesters.
The legislation was created in response to demonstrations on May 31 and June 1 “where police used tear gas, rubber bullets and pepper spray indiscriminately on both peaceful demonstrators and neighborhood bystanders,” the City Council said in a press release.
“We chose a public process of listening, of truth telling, of accountability, driven by the voices and experiences of the people we serve,” Philadelphia City Councilmember Helen Gym, who introduced the bill, said in a press release. “In banning the police use of less lethal munitions in response to demonstrations, we are answering the calls of our constituents.”
“This is a moment where repairing trust between our residents, public officials, and police is essential,” Gym added. “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.”
Philadelphia erupted in protests and riots following the Monday death of 27-year-old Walter Wallace Jr. Wallace Jr. was shot by police after they responded to a report of a man with a weapon. When officers arrived at the scene, Wallace Jr. was holding a knife and ignored repeated warnings to drop it, police said. They opened fire and shot Wallace Jr. multiple times. (RELATED: Van Packed With Explosives Found In Philadelphia Amid Riots And Unrest)
Within hours, protests and riots swept through the city. More than 30 people were arrested during the riots Monday, and police were hit with bricks and rocks. Philadephia police said that 30 officers were injured, including a 56-year-old female who was taken to the hospital with a broken leg after being hit by a pickup truck.
Mass rioting and looting also commenced Tuesday night. Videos showed looters raiding a Five Below store and attacking Blaze reporter Elijah Schaffer for recording the incident.
Mass looting across the river and @ElijahSchaffer just got beaten up for filming. This is inside the Five Below store. Police are in the same parking lot near the Walmart, but there seem to be too many looters pic.twitter.com/CZeIiMokJa
— Shelby Talcott (@ShelbyTalcott) October 28, 2020
Looters targeted a Walmart, a Dollar Tree and several other stores, videos showed.