A recently released Justice Department report found that the Philadelphia Police Department opened fire on suspects 390 times in the past 8 years, involving 454 officers.
“I want to express regrets for all who have been shot and killed in Philadelphia — civilian and police officers,” Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter said at a news conference following the release of the report.
In December, Brandon Tate-Brown, a 26-year-old resident of Philadelphia was killed by a Philadelphia police officer after being stopped for driving with his headlights off. Police allege Brown was reaching for a gun before he was shot.
Brown was not alone. Fifty-nine of the suspects who were shot were unarmed, according to the report. In many of these situations, the men were actually “doing something like holding a cellphone,” The New York Times reported.
Federal investigators found that the suspects who were fired upon were almost always black. It found that blacks accounted for 80 percent of police shooting victims, but that whites that were shot by police were more likely to be unarmed.
However, it did not conclude that Philadelphia police officers discriminated based on race. The Justice Department found no statistically significant difference in outcomes for blacks and whites who were fired on by police.
Vice President for Public Safety, Maureen Rush, who was a Philadelphia police officer before coming into her role at Penn, is confident that the Philadelphia Police Department is acting on the Justice Department’s recommendations.
“If you were trying to hide things that were wrong, you would not be inviting outsiders into your house,” Rush said. “Now they are addressing point by point the suggestions."
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