Philadelphia City Council responds to anti-racism protests with bills for police reform

Philadelphia City Hall.
Photo credit Holli Stephens/KYW Newsradio

UPDATED: 8:36 p.m. 

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Philadelphia City Council members are proposing a number of bills in response to the demands of protesters for police reform and economic equality.

Council President Darrell Clarke says council has heard the protesters' demands and is moving swiftly with important reforms. 

Clarke himself proposed a bill that would impose a one-year residency requirement for anyone applying for a job in civil service, including police officers. Police became exempt from the requirement in a contract arbitration 10 years ago.​

Councilmember Curtis Jones introduced a bill that would ask voters to create a permanent civilian Police Oversight Commission. 

Its exact composition, duties and powers would be determined by council. The mayor has already endorsed the idea and says he would want the commission to have subpoena power.

A bill from Kenyatta Johnson would prohibit police use of the chokehold or any similar physical contact.

Another bill, from Kathy Gilmore Richardson, would require a public hearing on the police contract 30 days before it could be approved.

Council member Maria Quinones Sanchez addressed economic equity with a bill to establish a nonprofit corporation called the Philadelphia Poverty Action Fund, to reduce poverty in the city, and a resolution to provide what she’s calling a "Black stimulus," $500 million for investments in housing and commercial corridors specifically targeting Black communities.

Kendra Brooks introduced what she called "people's proposals" to end the 10-year property tax abatement and impose a tax on personal wealth.