Tough conversations are the key to a healthy relationship. The relationship between African-Americans and law enforcement have not always been pretty. Although recent legislation has been passed in the previous months to combat racial inequality in the legal system, there is still more work to be done. As an extension of his new book, Classix 107.9’s Solomon Jones held a panel discussion over the weekend, giving different city officials and members of the community a chance to express concerns and to brainstorm solutions to make Philadelphia a safer place, not only to live, but where everyone is treated equally.
[CLICK HERE] to buy Solomon Jones Book: Ten Lives, Ten Demands: Life-and-Death Stories, and a Black Activist’s Blueprint for Racial Justice
Keir Bradford-Grey, the former chief defender of the city’s Defender Association, held her stance at the panel that states the stop-and-frisk tactic police use to apprehend suspects should be abolished as it does more harm than good.
“What we found [was] that when [police] stopped 309,000 people, 70% of the people they stopped were Black.” Said Bradford-Grey. “And of those 70%, they found something [illegal] like 0.17% of the time. So that means 99.83% of the time, they were stopping otherwise law-abiding citizens. In fact, (stop-and-frisk) has done more to alienate communities from helping to solve crime than bringing us closer to public safety,” said Bradford-Grey.
She also encouraged that Black people be more involved in the system by joining the different community hubs set up around the city, giving community members a more in-depth understand of the judicial system.
“Trained volunteers and facilitators give participants a deeper understanding of the justice process, what is expected from them at each stage, and suggestions to help them prepare for meetings with their attorney, court dates, and other steps of the process.” as presented on the Defender’s Association website.
RELATED: [CLICK HERE] for list of Defense Hubs around the city.
Cpl. Jasmine Reilly, a Philadelphia police public affairs spokesperson, represented the accused and was there to inform community members that they no longer utilize the stop-and-frisk tactic in communities.
“The Philadelphia Police Department does not engage in ‘Stop and Frisk’ policing. Our officers conduct stops, otherwise known as investigative detentions, based upon reasonable suspicion that an individual is involved in illegal conduct or behavior.” Said Reilly. “To frisk an individual, our officers must articulate why, in addition to the reasonable suspicion for the underlying, the officer believes an individual possess a weapon and is an immediate threat”
After the panel discussion, community member Mamie Young, gave a heartfelt soliloquy on the reparations that black people as a race deserve, generations later.
“We have suffered indignities. We have suffered discrimination. We have been redlined; we have been denied health care and our children are not in decent schools. And we are getting gentrified out of neighborhoods where we have lived for many years.”
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