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Philadelphia To Have Independent Consultant Examine City's Response To Recent Protests, Including Police Department's Use Of Force

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney and Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw announced plans to engage an independent consultant to conduct an examination of the city's response to recent unrest in the city on Monday. The investigations will include an examination of the Philadelphia Police Department's use of force during the protests and other activities.

The consultant could be one or multiple experienced organizations and the timeline for completion will be announced after the city and the consultant agree on the amount of time needed to meet expectations.

"Our commitment to reform must also include an assessment of how police responded to the very protests that called for change," Commissioner Outlaw said. "While I've witnessed many officers respond bravely and with compassion, I have also witnessed inappropriate use of force and other conduct that I do not condone—nor will I allow to continue by those who serve the Philadelphia Police Department. There are also tactical and operational lessons that we can learn through organized retrospection."

Outlaw says to ensure transparency with the community, the final report will be made public.

"This investigation will examine the PPD's response over the past two weeks to protest and other activity by gathering significant factual evidence and assessing our compliance with pertinent policies, trainings, use-of-force protocols, and best practices—all with an eye toward reforming and strengthening our department."

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Mayor Kenney hopes the report helps improve the way the police department handles protests and better serve the Philadelphia community.

"This independent evaluation will help us get to the bottom of the varying accounts of what happened in situations where officers used force—including the incident on I-676 and looting incidents, and enable us to make necessary policy and protocol changes, such as additional limitations or prohibitions on certain types of force," Mayor Kenney said. "I am also hopeful that this independent analysis will further inform our continued efforts to re-imagine public safety in the city of Philadelphia."

Officials say it is anticipated that the consultant will examine the following, among other things:

  • Analyze relevant PPD incident, use-of-force, and other internal or investigative reports and data from May 29 through June 15, 2020 (or later) regarding interactions with persons engaging in protest and other activities to determine if the Department's actions were in accordance with PPD policies and procedures, as well as current police best practices.
  • Collect and review body-worn camera footage, news and social media accounts, stationary video, audio recordings, photographs, directives, standard operating procedures, and other documents in the PPD's possession.
  • Interview selected participants or eyewitnesses to police activities.
  • Evaluate the PPD's application of force during protests and any unrelated criminal activity, including whether the use of less than lethal munitions was consistent with policy or otherwise appropriate.
  • Assess whether additional limitations or categorical prohibitions are needed on certain types of force.
  • Collect and review factual evidence from other law enforcement agencies assisting the PPD in the field, including the Pennsylvania State Police.
  • Analyze the PPD's overall tactical response to peaceful protests and any separate criminal activity, including the deployment of personnel, response times, and geographic dispersal.
  • Provide monthly reports to the Inspector General's Office and the City Solicitor's Office during the contract period. These reports will focus on preliminary findings and the progress of the development of the investigation.
  • Provide a written report of the findings and recommendations to improve the PPD's protocols and policies for use of force. The final report, as well as updates on preliminary findings, will be made public.
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