Emotions ran high over police and minority relations at the town hall meeting, “Philly After Ferguson,” held on Wednesday night.
Members of the Philadelphia community, including several members of the Philadelphia Police force, gathered at Catalyst for Change Church at 3237 Barring Street.
The event was co-hosted by Unity in the Community, a non-profit organization based in Philadelphia, and Techbook Online Corporation, a publisher on Phillyfocus.com.
At the event, members of the community were able to address activist leaders and members of the police force with questions and concerns regarding relations between police and Philadelphia residents.
A major focus of the event was the recent shooting death of Brandon Tate-Brown, a 26-year-old Philadelphian who was shot and killed by Philadelphia Police in December.
Tate-Brown was shot in the head during a traffic stop after allegedly reaching for his weapon. At Penn, Students Organizing for Unity and Liberation hung sheets with the words “Who killed Brandon T. Brown?” around campus as part of its weekly Ferguson Friday protests.
His mother, Tanya Brown-Dickerson, spoke at the event, begging police to release the footage from her son’s death.
“Brandon was tried, judged and condemned by the police,” Brown-Dickerson said. “Please just show me the footage.”
Brown-Dickerson also revealed that she had first learned of her son’s death over the radio on her way to work that morning.
“How many of you would be fine hearing of your child’s death on the media?” Brown-Dickerson asked. Reverend Mark Kelly Tyler also spoke out about how Tate-Brown’s death was handled in the media. “Before she even knew he was dead, we knew his whole criminal record,” he said.
Brown-Dickerson claims that the police never contacted her.
“No sergeant or deputy of the police had the decency to come to me to tell me my first-born, my first everything was gone.”
Deputy Commissioner Kevin Bethel, who also spoke at the event as a panel member, apologized directly to Brown-Dickerson for the way in which she discovered her son’s death.
“That is unacceptable,” he said to her.
Bethel came under fire from community members in attendance who accused Bethel of protecting police members rather than civilians by refusing to release the names of the officers responsible for Tate-Brown’s death.
“If you are protecting cops, who is protecting us from you?” demanded an audience member.
“We are moving in the right direction,” Bethel responded. But members of the crowd clearly disagreed, voicing their outrage at the suggestion that relations between police and the community were improving.Comments powered by Disqus
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