Community-police meeting in Philly disrupted by protestors, 10 arrested

 District Attorney Seth Williams (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

District Attorney Seth Williams (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

The arrest of 10 people at a Philadelphia public meeting on police community relations last night  is not going to stop more such meetings in the future.   

The chair throwing melee was documented all over social media, including an online video from Joel Mathis of Philadelphia Magazine.    

District Attorney Seth Williams says the meeting at the Lawncrest recreation center was just a convenient time and place for the protesters who were upset that no charges were brought against two police officers.

“Ironically the police commissioner and I were at the community meeting to talk about ways to improve community relations between law enforcement and neighbors,” Williams said.

  • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

Earlier in the day, Williams had announced he concluded police officers had used deadly force legitimately against Brandon Tate-Brown.  Tate-Brown was shot to death in a traffic stop last year. The D.A. cited testimony from a civilian who said Tate-Brown repeatedly made moves for a gun in the console of his rental car while struggling with police.  

Williams says the protesters disrupting the Thursday night meeting weren’t from the neighborhood.

“These were people who wanted their day in the sun, who wanted to shout and scream wanted to be on TV and on the radio and they got exactly what they wanted, but it left those of us who wanted to solve solutions to wait for them to leave,” he said.

State Rep. Mark Cohen organized the meeting, which took months to arrange.  He says once the shouting and arrests were over, people spoke constructively about how the police and citizens can work together.

“The ordinary citizens who were present very much believe the communication between the police and citizenry is very good,” Cohen said.  “They believe the police are doing a good job,  they believe the police could do a better job.”

Cohen says future meetings probably will not include both the D-A and police commissioner.

The family of Brandon Tate-Brown is planning to go forward with a civil lawsuit.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal