Sheriff’s deputies forcibly removed five people from Philadelphia City Council’s weekly session Thursday.
Megan Malachi of the group Philly Real Justice said they proposed legislation for increased citizen oversight over police officers and were prepared to stay inside Council’s chamber until their demands were met.
“The black people of Philadelphia are tired of the police coming into our community and terrorizing us,” she said. “We are demanding this democratic and legitimate bill be adopted by City Council.”
When the group refused to leave a shouting match ensued, followed by shoving. Then sheriff’s deputies that handle security at council removed them.
Sheriff Jewell Williams said the threats of the protesters forced his deputies to act.
“I think everybody was being patient and letting everybody get their views and their concerns out in the air and it just started getting out of control, when people started talking about the additional things they were going to do, if they didn’t get a response at that moment,” Williams said.
Council President Darrell Clarke said the group was given time to speak during Council’s weekly public comment portion of the meeting, but he is not going to allow people to disrupt the legislative process and a protocol has been put into place to prevent that from happening.
“The protocol is, if you want to protest, you can do that, if you want to speak, you can do that, we have a public comment session,” he said.
“If you determine that you are going to disrupt the council session, under the law you cannot continue to do that.”
The five were ejected from City Hall and given disorderly conduct citations.