World 'Quality-of-life crimes' in Philadelphia, including public urination and prostitution, to get new treatment
A weekend in America: Shootings shock capital city
A stadium was sent into panic and a six-year-old was killed in two of the weekend's worst shootings.It was the sixth inning. The Nationals Park baseball stadium, just south of Capitol Hill, was packed with thousands of fans spending their Saturday night watching the Washington Nationals play the San Diego Padres.
ThePolice Department has issued an internal memo detailing changes to the way handle "quality of life " such as public urination or prostitution, under a new pilot program.
The changes come in response to a 2010 lawsuit, Bailey v. City of Philadelphia, in which eight Black Philadelphia residents sued the city over allegations of discrimination during stop-and-frisk encounters.
The city reached a settlement in 2011 and agreed to train officers to enter relevant information into a database after each stop and search, as Fox 29 Philadelphia first reported.
"As part of this agreement, the city's statistical expert has reviewed the PPD's stops each year to identify any racial disparity. In 2020, our expert found that racial disparity does exist in certain types of stops," the Philadelphia Police Department told Fox News in a statement.
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Research by a former Kiwi policeman has found officers focus on three things before deciding on whether to intervene, a process he calls "suspicioning".A former Kiwi officer spent more than 800 hours shadowing police in South Australia and New Zealand, examining how and why they decide to interact with the public.
The city's expert "believes that the root cause of the racial disparity identified may, in part, result from the manner in which the PPD enforces certain quality-of-life-type offenses."
"As such, the Philadelphia Police Department is committed to exploring or piloting different programs that can improve the service we provide to the community and also reduce racial disparity, bias or even the appearance thereof," the Philly PD said.
The memo obtained by Fox 29 states that Philadelphia PD officers will no longer immediately issue citations to or arrest individuals engaging in quality-of-life crimes. Instead, they will "FIRST engage only in a mere encounter with the individual and request the individual stop engaging in the prohibited behavior. The individual will NOT be detained and are free to leave."
Philadelphia officials advise masks for fully vaccinated people in public indoor spaces again
Philadelphia officials have revised the city's mask guidance, encouraging everyone to wear face masks in public indoor spaces regardless of vaccination status as the more virulent delta variant of COVID-19 continues to spread. The mayor’s office announced that recent numbers showed a "small but disturbing" increase in hospitalizations. The number of cases has also doubled, according to the acting health commissioner, Dr. Cheryl Bettigole. Most notably, the city has "strongly recommended" that everyone, including fully vaccinated individuals, should wear masks when in public indoor spaces again.
The process for officers will now go as follows: activate body cameras, notify police radios that they are engaging in "mere encounters," request individuals engaging in quality-of-life crimes stop doing so, record the encounter and categorize the video as a "Mere Encounter – Quality of Life" incident, the memo says
"The purpose of the Modified Quality of Life Enforcement Pilot Program is NOT to abandon quality-of-life enforcement, but rather to provide offenders an opportunity to cease and desist such activities, prior to the issuance of any citations," the Philly PD said. "This is a balanced approach that still allows the PPD to address community complaints while striving to reduce or eliminate the racial disparity that has been associated with this type of enforcement."
Officers purportedly told the Fox 29 reporter they do not believe the new program will stop people from committing quality-of-life crimes, and that "at least half the department" does not have body cameras to complete the first step of the new initiative.
The pilot program will operate in the Philadelphia PD's 14th District, according to the memo.
Missing Pennsylvania woman may have crashed car, been ejected through sunroof: police .
Pennsylvania police on Sunday found a body matching the description of a woman who went missing last month. Cassandra "Casey" Johnston, 26, from Bucks County went missing on July 10 after visiting Philadelphia with a group of friends. Her disappearance puzzled police for weeks, but the discovery of human remains believed to belong to Johnston prompted police to speculate that an accident may have caused her death. She was last seen driving away from Philadelphia, heading out onto I-95 at around 5:30 a.m. that morning.