At 11am this morning, the Philadelphia Police Commissioner, Danielle Outlaw, answered questions from the media regarding a report published yesterday of a detailed investigation on the City’s response to last summer’s protests.
In her address, Outlaw defended her stance on how police handled the civil unrest that traveled throughout the city after many took to the streets to protest the death of George Floyd. The live-streamed conference was held to clarify any implications that she would somehow resign after the report led by Ballard Spahr LLP and AT-RISK International Inc. came to light.
Due to the controversial decision to use non-lethal gear, such as rubber bullets and tear gas during certain moments of the protests, that later led to the looting of local businesses and violence––Outlaw sought to explain the reasoning behind the tactics. Protesters were confronted by SWAT police after damages escalated across the city, and even temporarily shut down the interstate of I-676.
“Despite the reports claim, to the contrary, there was simply not a blueprint available for what our city faced this past summer. While we are appreciative and welcome a second independent review, the City’s controller report fails to also mention that previous protests, which took place within the city, were not of the scale seen in the summer of 2020,” stated Outlaw.
The report draws comparisons between the events that took place last summer and the MOVE bombing of 1985. Outlaw disagreed with controller making the parallels, classifying the two incidents as very different situations. One highlight of the conference was the commissioner sharing how unprepared the PPD was for the demonstrations, stating that the department was “woefully understaffed.”
Tear gas has a long-standing history in the City of Philadelphia, one which dates back to the approval of the equipment, as early as the 1930s. The decision to use the gas is not always an immediate one, as the PPD has been known to steer away from its use. Outlaw’s testimony stated that this choice was not “predetermined” and was intact in order to disperse protesters off of the freeway, and later to keep them out of City Hall.
When asked about whether she would resign, the commissioner stated how she has no plans to do so, and that she has the full support of city officials.
*InClub Magazine is closely observing this investigation for more information and will update the report further.*