Episode 5: What happens next
WHYY gun violence prevention reporter Sam Searles and Temple University student Kole Long host a panel of concerned community members.
This episode is from Stop and Frisk, a podcast production from WHYY News and Temple University’s Logan Center for Urban Investigative Reporting.
Find it on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.
SARAH GLOVER: HELLO. I’M SARAH GLOVER, WHYY’S VICE PRESIDENT OF NEWS AND CIVIC DIALOGUE. WHYY NEWS IS COMMITTED TO REPORTING ON SOLUTIONS TO PHILADELPHIA’S GUN VIOLENCE CRISIS. THIS PODCAST DIGS INTO THE CONVERSATION ABOUT STOP AND FRISK, GUN VIOLENCE, AND PUBLIC SAFETY IN THE CITY OF BROTHERLY LOVE. JOIN US AS WE TAKE AN IN DEPTH LOOK AT HOW WE GOT HERE. THIS IS A CONVERSATION PHILLY NEEDS TO HAVE.
SAM: HI, I’M SAM SEARLES, A GUN VIOLENCE PREVENTION REPORTER AT WHYY.
KOLE: AND I’M KOLE LONG. I’M A SENIOR MAJORING IN MEDIA STUDIES AND PRODUCTION AT TEMPLE UNIVERSITY’S KLEIN COLLEGE.
SAM: AND THIS IS A SPECIAL EPISODE OF STOP AND FRISK: REVISIT OR RESIST.
KOLE: IN THIS EPISODE WE’RE GOING TO TALK ABOUT SOLUTIONS TO THE GUN VIOLENCE CRISIS IN PHILLY. JOINING US IS GROUP OF PHILADELPHIANS WHO ARE ENGAGED IN STEMMING THE TIDE OF VIOLENCE. AND THIS CONVERSATION IS GOING TO BE LED BY US, TWO YOUNG Black PHILADELPHIANS.
THIS IS EPISODE 5: WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
SAM: EARLIER THIS YEAR, PHILADELPHIA CITY COUNCIL PRESIDENT DARRELL CLARKE BROUGHT UP STOP AND FRISK AT A PUBLIC MEETING ABOUT SOLUTIONS TO THE GUN VIOLENCE CRISIS.
SOME COUNCIL MEMBERS VOICED SUPPORT. BUT OTHERS WERE CRITICAL. WHY WOULD CITY LEADERS REVISIT A POLICY THAT HAS BEEN SHOWN TO DISPROPORTIONATELY TARGET Black MEN?
KOLE: IN NEIGHBORHOODS IMPACTED BY GUN VIOLENCE, SOME PEOPLE ARE DESPERATE FOR MORE POLICE PRESENCE TO STEM THE SPIKE IN SHOOTINGS.
SAM: OTHERS WANT TO SEE MORE INVESTMENTS IN SCHOOLS, YOUTH PROGRAMS, HOUSING, AND MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES. TO HELP US EXPLORE THE MANY ASPECTS OF THIS CHALLENGE WE CALLED UP A FEW PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN WORKING ON THE ISSUE AND GOT THEM AT A TABLE TOGETHER.
Taahzje Ellis: Hello, my name is Taj Ellis and I go to Morrow Dobbins. I’m a junior there, and I’m currently studying to be a pharmaceutical scientist. I myself, you know, I’ve I’ve been living in neighborhoods. I’m hearing gunshots late at night.
And that should not be a normal thing. And I and a lot of my friends also have gone through this kind of thing where, you know, they there’s some neighborhoods that just don’t walk down because they know something will happen to them or some places where they don’t go, and that should not be normalized.
So I’m here to just talk about that and just really share what it’s like to grow up in that kind of environment where you never really feel safe anywhere.
Ajourdi Hargrove: My name is Ajourdi Hargrove. AKA D. I am the lead police diversion ambassador for the ACLU. I am a community organizer and activist.
Let’s not surface. Let’s not go around the mulberry bush. Because I, like I said, I’ve been on all sides. I’ve been in solitary confinement during COVID for allegations. And then when I came out, I became a beast. King Kong is what they call me Right? I’m here to stomp on injustices. I’ve been locked down. I’ve been discriminated against all the time, every day. Misgendered. But I’ve been through a lot being Black, gay, female, multiracial. I’ve been through a lot.
Tyrique Glasgow: My name is Tyrique Glasgow, I’m executive director of Young Chances Foundation. But before that, I’m a 39 year old father, son, brother.
Growing up, my mom raised me when my grandma never knew about poverty or anything like that, but I always knew the hustle. I always knew what you had to do to become successful. And sometimes we take the fast route. And that led to me being shot 11 times on my head, back leg and arms, going to jail for five years and really pointing a finger at issues that you think is cool. But until, you know, I looked in the mirror, I had to change my approach on life, on how I address just the people I communicated with and who I really thought was valuable or was my old head or, you know, what we think is the truth in our communities.
A lot of people come through poverty, they come through violence, they come through abuse, and they don’t have the chance to really describe who they are as humans. And this is a challenge for all of us.
Adam Geer: My name is Adam Geer. I am currently the Deputy Inspector General for public safety for the city of Philadelphia. I probably shouldn’t have worn my coat and tie because I’m getting real great vibes from seeing all of you around the table.
Before I was the Deputy Inspector General for public safety, I was an assistant D.A. for many years for the city of Philadelphia. Was very excited to take this role, take this new role, where I’m bridging gaps within the city and making sure that everyone’s communicating, talking to each other, most importantly, making sure that the police department is heading in the right direction. That’s really why my job was created after the murder of George Floyd was to more or less keep tabs in the police department.
There’s a lot, I think, right now of a feeling of throwing our hands up in the air, a feeling of I don’t want to say giving up, but there’s a lot of tough times, tough feelings in the city as it relates to gun violence and sort of like we’re in a very desperate place.
Diamond Walker: My name is Diamond Walker. I’m here through the Anti-Violence Partnership of Philadelphia. I’m one of their child and adolescent therapists. I’m originally from the Bronx, New York. And I came to Philly around 2019 for graduate school, and I’ve been here since.
I think a lot about like, what is the goal? And I’ve been thinking about that for myself for a couple of years because I feel like over the years I’ve, in a way, sometimes have become hopeless. Um, I want to say, like when I was in high school, I would, I worked with the NYCLU and it was a teen activist program. And we would go around to other high schools in New York and talk about know your rights when it came to being stopped by the police. In undergrad, I went to a very like white undergrad, a lot of racism there that I was just like, I can’t believe this exists. I didn’t grow up around white people in the Bronx. And it was a huge shock. That was exhausting. And then after college, I worked in the Bronx Criminal Court. That was exhausting. And then in grad school, another white school I went to, very exhausting.
And so then I get to now at 27, I’m like, even though I’m still young, you know, you go through a lot of stuff, you become disillusioned. But I appreciate hearing from you a lot. D because it’s important to remember, like, we still have to fight is frustrating to just always see people trying to do more, trying to help the community, trying, trying, trying. And it feels like we’re in the same place over and over and over again. But it’s important to keep going.
Sam Searles: Stop and frisk has long been part of policing in Philadelphia. What does it say to you that local leaders and even some residents want to lean into it?
Diamond Walker: It just creates another problem. I think about in New York. Our gun violence may have decreased a lot over the past years. However, that doesn’t mean that violence in general just went away. And also, it means that a lot more young Black people, especially young Black males, have been just incarcerated more. And then now we have to do more with mass incarceration and just all the affect that has on the Black community, too. I think that stop and frisk can be like an easy way out.
Tyrique Glasgow: How can we make sure that our children, families, and seniors are safe, that are walking to school, that are going to the shopping malls without being shot? You know, and one of the things that always starts a conversation is when you target Black and Brown communities. And what would be the topic that will come up? It’s stop and frisk.
However, that isn’t the plate that the community wants. We want safety. Stop and frisk doesn’t have to be what we eat. It could be public safety checks. It could be ways that you understand how crime errors, by working with all your partners, you know. As you see around the table, there is a diverse group of individuals, but also in a public safety field, law enforcement have high crime areas. They have places where you can, not target, but understand this is where a flow of negative shootings are happening. Here is where a lack of resources, where food is not there, schools are underfunded. Libraries don’t have books, to try to implement resources that not target the community in a negative way, but also benefit some in a positive.
So the frustration, just like, you know, when our mayor said that he, you know, didn’t want to be mayor at the time. You know, it’s not saying that he wanted to quit, but it’s like, how often do we have to keep coming in front of the cameras? And it’s Black and Brown kids that are being shot. There’s guns that are being carried in the schools. There’s, you know, seniors who are going to the supermarket, they’re being shot, you know, kids getting their hair braided and they’re getting killed. They’re sitting on porches. So it’s an uncomfortable conversation. But what’s the solution?
Adam Geer: I think those comments from City Council and other leaders that came from a place of frustration. I think that that’s clear. And I think it is dangerous to throw out ideas like that without really digging into them, And often when we get into these public safety conversations and then we start talking about policies, people’s constitutions who are Black, or constitutional rights, people who look like us right around this table, Black and Brown people, it’s balanced on our backs.
Show me how that helps, how it would work to just start stopping random people of color, probably with the we’ve seen this in the past, the numbers, it always is disproportionately in our communities. So show me how it’s going to help public safety if we’re just stopping probably young Black and Brown men and harassing them.
That is, what we need is the opposite of that. We need targeted enforcement. We all know the evidence is clear that it’s a very small number of people who are causing all of the heartaches and the headaches and the, and the blood in the streets. That’s just the way it is. It’s a small number of people. Well, we need better intelligence. We need better resources so that we can target those individuals. We need better investigations. And better investigations come from community buy in.
Ajourdi Hargrove: I’m tired of the terminology and it probably makes the people in the neighborhoods, they’re tired of it, too. So let’s stop using that. You want to start some somewhere, legislators? Start there. We need to start taking communication classes. Stop being the gun violence city. We always the ugly city, blah, blah, blah. Let’s start projecting what really is the narrative of our city. We have wonderful resources. We have resources at this table.
Diamond Walker: Um, ok, I just wanted to respond really quick to what you said D about the well, non lack of resources, and you’re absolutely correct. I want to clarify a little bit that sometimes I think it can be difficult to access those resources. And I think about some of the young people I work with and how, you know, I’ll I’ll tell them about like all of these after school activities that exist that speak to their interests, but then, you know, they have trouble getting there or their parents don’t want them to go because they don’t feel safe outside. So you’re right, the resources do exist. There’s just a bunch of barriers in regards to communicating those resources and accessing them.
Kole Long: So, many residents are asking if community policing is the answer.
Taahzje Ellis: The main part is just having people who are in the same predicament as you to help you instead of someone who’s looking in from the outside who’s never experienced it. It’s like the idea that a lot of lawmakers have never, they’ve never lived in lot of parts of Philly and never experienced this stuff. And and and they are the ones making regulations, rules and regulations about how to fix things that they’ve never experienced themselves.
Kole Long: So to, to follow up. So in your like, in your idea of community policing, that does that involve police officers and citizens, or just citizens taking control?
Ajourdi Hargrove: But what I will say is the solution of community policing does involve police along with community, it’s people and police. There’s a P in both words. You understand what I’m saying to you? And that equals power.
Adam Geer: There’s a lot of initiatives that are happening inside of police districts and blocks that aren’t connected. So maybe having the if you like, the PDX, which are residents are part of the police department, that give advice to the captain to implement initiatives in the community. Those are the things that can enhance some of the challenges that the police department has as far as recruitment. I would say you can’t get rid of it because they’re going to always fund.
One of the, you know, suggestions or recommendations, I submit, is interviewing or having job fairs inside of the community for individuals who already have probably retired or have degrees in social services, behavioral health, that will be able to target those actual community members that can help this generation, maybe the block captain or the the crossing guard, the school teacher who lives in PSA two or three, or in North Philadelphia who has been doing work. Maybe they can be a civilian, you know, add on to things and that capacity. And I know that goes into the in-depth part, you know the contracts and things in that capacity. But to, you know, further talk about what’s working, I think really using the powers, using the facilities that community members have and the police have and expanding them.
AD: SUPPORTING WHYY, PENN MEDICINE’S TRANSPLANT INSTITUTE. PERFORMING KIDNEY, LIVER, HEART, LUNG, AND PANCREAS TRANSPLANTS FOR MORE THAN FIFTY YEARS. LEARN MORE AT PENNMEDICINE.ORG/TRANSPLANT OR 800-789-PENN.
Sam Searles: The city of Philadelphia has consistently increased the police budget as part of its anti-violence spending plan. Homicide rates only continue to climb. What’s working and what isn’t in the current law enforcement approach? Tyrique, you’re smiling. I feel like you want to say something.
Tyrique Glasgow: This is a real conversation, right? So when you talk about the resources and the funding and public safety and talking points, the police department and its originality was bought and created as slave catchers. So when you talk about stop and frisk– what’s the principle of it? It’s what they live by, like their that’s their honor. So they take pride in it. You will stop, this generation, this youth, this Black man from moving forward, from getting wealth, from getting education, from walking to the market to going to the doctors to get medicine for your grandmother, for your mother, for your child. That’s the principles. That’s what America was built on.
So when we talk about the day and the resources, of course they’re going to be out there, but they strategically know it’s like red line resources and media like here, like yeah, let’s put the resources in the northwest when you know the majority of the crime that you targeted is in South Philly.
Adam Geer: I think that’s one of the things that the police department probably should be focusing more on. But the reality is we’re short staffed and the police department, and they can’t do these things that I think would be effective, like building communications and community relations with the people in the neighborhoods that we need so that we can get the information on the individuals who are causing the most problems.
I should make the elephant in the room is because of the contract that the city has with the FOP. I urge anyone to sort of look into the specifics of that contract. You can find the contract online and see what it says, but every couple of years the city has to come to the negotiating table and they have to negotiate certain rights for their employees with the police department. The way that that translates to the police department is, it makes it virtually impossible to really discipline an officer for real.
Tyrique Glasgow: And when you talk about the budget, that’s one budget. But the city has a gang of agencies and services and departments that are designed to go into those targeted zip codes. And if they’re not getting funded, they’re not getting the resources to maintain those resources for those programs.
Ajourdi Hargrove: Yes, most definitely. There’s been plenty of grassroot organizations that definitely played their part, especially even in this election. I’ll say one of them, Black Voters Matter. They actually gave a small, even smaller grassroots organization called Sister TalkPHL, a brother from North Philly that started that organization with all the diaper drives and everything. He even had canvassers, Black mom canvassers, $15 an hour, and they gave them $8,000. And there’s been other organizations that gave a lot of smaller grassroot orgs money.
Tyrique Glasgow: So if we’re going to talk about those Black Voters Matters and all those things, like as a community leader, let’s talk about poverty pimps.
Let’s talk about the resident advisory councils who get 60 $500 from council members and there is no application for kids to do football programs. Let’s talk about the young girls who are having babies and abortions at 15, 16, 17 at high schools, but they’re supposedly afterschool programs, but they are run by these mentoring groups, but the majority, but that’s the accountability aspect. And it’s not the police department. When we talk about who is taking ownership in the leadership.
Sam Searles: Hang on. The city of Philadelphia has consistently increased the police budget as part of the city’s anti-violence spending plan. So that means that the police are involved. It means that those TCIG grants are involved. It’s all part of the city’s anti-violence spending plan. Okay. Then the second part of the question was homicide rates only continue to climb. So what’s working and what isn’t working in the current law enforcement approach?
Ajourdi Hargrove: I also I just honestly feel as though that if there is any initiatives from the police department or budgeting, I think some of those conversations need to trickle more into the community so they, too, can understand, you know, what you’re stating, the breakdown, and it needs to come from somebody not in a suit and tie.
I need you to be up there protesting with me. Take the suit off and come protest with me, man. That’s how we community police. We go where they– where the blood was shed. And when we talk about the resources.
Adam Geer: Yeah. I mean, I guess I feel the need to respond there because it’s…
Ajourdi Hargrove: 260,000 of people that look like you and you better start learning it. That look like you? 70% of Black and Brown people in 2021 were stopped and frisked. 260,000. So don’t talk to me about budgets until you know the numbers of people that look like you. It could have been you, could have been your child. My cousin was dead. That same year, earlier that year, before they even had these statistics.
Adam Geer: I probably should have taken my suit off. Um, I think there is a– right, and in this cuts both ways, because I live in South Philly and when I’m wearing my hoodie and I’m coming back from the gym and I’m going into my home, which I own in South Philly, and I’m the only Black or Brown person in my area. When I go into my home, sometimes I’m thinking to myself, Is someone going to call the cops because they think a Black person’s trying to rob this, right? When my neighbors ask me to pick packages up off their doorstep, they know now not to ask me because I’m, I’m saying I’m not going to have the cops called on me because they see a guy picking up a package.
So, you know, I’m going to stop you right there because I have obviously the same experience as a lot of people around this table. Just because I’m wearing a suit, I can come down and protest with you in a suit. I can do, I can do that, or not. That’s not going to change anything. Nor is it knowing all these specific numbers. This isn’t about, I gotcha. We all know that stop and frisk is a bad policy. We all know that it shouldn’t exist constitutionally, morally, whatever. It just doesn’t work. It’s not going to help. So it does us no good. I mean, we know we’re talking, we’re trying to talk about solutions here. And I think we need to focus on the solutions and focus on combining our power and our resources and our understanding to, like, advance the ball.
Ajourdi Hargrove: I need more of us to read this pamphlet and he can read it out loud if he wants.
Kole Long: Well, could you, could you explain the pamphlet for all of our listeners?
Ajourdi Hargrove: So basically, that pamphlet breaks down the demographics. It breaks down the districts. And it also tells Black and Brown people to carry that with you. When you are stopped by the police, they cannot just ask you any, or, oh, what are you doing, what’s your I.D.? No. They are not allowed to do that. They can warn you and then you can walk away. All right? It’s a de-escalation technique. Pull it out and just read it. Read it back to them. Okay.
And it also outlines in the middle part that if you have a beer can or if you spit on the street, no, you cannot be locked up for that. And also, we have one not just for if you’re a pedestrian, but also if you’re in a vehicle as well. Because if you have your license plate in the window, they’re trying to stop and frisk– I mean, stop people in their cars just to have a license plate in the window if you are Black and Brown to, just to target. So we’re just giving you an outline of what they can and cannot do and how to approach that. And if you need to pull that out, read it. Now, to be honest with you, why should we have that? We shouldn’t. And that’s why I say it is modern day freedom paper, because you have to have freedom papers, when you had to have, you know, as a slave and, you know, move about. Why should we have to have that? But we need it. And I think it also warrants it because we need to know our rights. So that is why it’s important.
Kole Long: I guess on the topic of the youth, Taahzje, how are you feeling about this conversation? You know, what are some things you’ve been taking to heart and been learning?
Taahzje Ellis: This is a conversation that needs to go down, especially with the youth, because we have to be the ones to rise up next. Who will be the ones to project our voices to the world? So I guess this is all really important for everyone to know and learn about, I think, especially if you’re, you know, Black or Brown. You should know all of this because, you know, this society is not here for you. So you need to learn why is that and how can we stop it? And I think that’s a major point of just the youth need to be informed. I want to know everything that I need to know to learn and to produce a better outcome for my people. I want to be educated and educate others about about these kind of topics because they are very important to you because they affect you. This is this is affecting your life, how you will live for the rest of your life if you want to live in America.
So this is a very important conversation that I think a lot of the youth take, like they take advantage of, is that you you are a teen or a child, but you still have a voice, a voice that is very powerful that that needs to be shared. You don’t have to wait until anything. You can just get your voice, your opinion out there, because your opinion matters just as much as anyone else’s. Because in a couple of years, you’re going to be you’re going to be an adult. You’re going to be the one sitting at the head of this table.
Kole Long: I completely agree. I’m just a bit older than you. I’m not of the belief that, oh, you’re young, so you can’t do anything. We’re all on this earth together. We’re all in society together and, I don’t know. I’ve seen people my age make TikTok challenges that everyone around the country, as soon as we hear a second of a song, we know what dance to do. There is no reason that we have that power, can’t also use that same power to affect real change, like actually change in our lifetime.
You know, there’s no reason why, even before we have kids, a society can’t be different if we just organize together, like. Yeah, we got to we’ve got to start seeing this as important as it is, not treating these kind of conversations as like, you know, dinner table conversations that we can wipe our hands with and go off after. No, this is where we’re at right now. This is the start. This is step one. We’re all going to leave this room and go to our different places, our different jobs, but we’re going to go to them differently. You know, I’ve been affected in this conversation. I hope everyone else has, too. So, I’m for radical change because that’s what we need. We don’t need incremental change because no one’s been alive to see that actually actualized into something that helps our quality of life because that’s what it is, is really, really we need to help our quality of life, all of us.
Sam Searles: Essentially, we know that the data shows that young Black men are most likely to be perpetrators and victims. We know that there are a lot of causes for that. What are some of the solutions that can be done specifically for young Black men?
Ajourdi Hargrove: What I would say is, is that, yes, there are targets on backs. Okay. But the likelihood anybody can be likely murdered, anybody can be likely at risk. Columbine. Hello? We could go on and on. So any day you wake up, you are likely to be at risk or murdered. So let’s stop that kind of conversation. I’m not coming at you, it’s just, like you said, the statistics and data, you feel what I’m saying to you?
Tyrique Glasgow: It’s what’s needed to be said. Like in media, there is a term that if it bleeds, it leads. That’s true. However, you have to look at the plate. This is the plate when you come up with some solutions we’re trying to focus on. And I’m not saying in a capacity of the media, but how do we give our community that different approach, you know, to to see that?
The solutions, doing these type of things, telling them that the narrative needs to be changed for us, not only to be shot, but also to not have financial literacy. Because how do you hide something from the Black community? You put it where? In a book. How are you going to make sure your community safe when you’re talking to Rittenhouse Square? You tell them, listen, I understand, so can you donate two street lights to Grays Ferry? You have that conversation, say you know what? We don’t have trash pickup. So can you volunteer maybe a truck to come pick up some? Because on the corner is just too many mattresses. There’s too many. And that’s the relationship that you have with your police department. You can say, you know, what else can you call the Streets Department? Adam, listen, every time I reach out to them, it’s a challenge with them getting back. So if they get a phone call from him, your phone will be ringing in the next couple of minutes.
Taahzje Ellis: I was in school and me and my friends were joking about, oh, it would be like really cool to make it past 25 living in Philadelphia as a Black man, it was all Black men.
And now it’s just like, I’m looking back on it. That’s a crazy sentence to say, like, you know, because a lot of people are just dying for no reason. And as a Black man, I feel like I have to follow certain precautions so that I don’t put myself in that kind of predicament. When I was, I was in a car and I got pulled over by police. I was up, my sister was driving, and I never really was scared of the police. But that one moment kind of had my heart racing because I was like, wow, I’m, this is this is the position that that always starts it. You know, the cop walks up to the car and for some reason starts shooting.
And I was like, that was the kind of day where it clicked. And I’m like, Oh, me being Black and me being a man, it’s like I there is certain things that I just have to be very wary of and try to and try to, you know, be good. Because in that moment I was just trying to act very educated and very respectful. I wasn’t trying to act out of line, you know, and give them a reason to do anything. And I, that’s what I think a lot of Black men, you know, because you feel like you have to act a certain way to feel non-threatening towards others and I don’t think that’s how it should be.
Sam Searles: And just a clarifying question, if you don’t mind, how old are you?
Taahzje Ellis: I’m 16.
Sam Searles: So legally speaking, you are not a man. You are a kid. But unfortunately, we know that, you know, that doesn’t always play out like that in terms of perception.
Diamond Walker: So since I am here on behalf of the agency I work for, I feel like, you know, I was supposed to say something about mental health, and I’ll say a little bit about that. But I feel like overall, the services I provide at least are reactionary. And we’re here trying to talk about preventative things.
There’s a lot of space for mental health services to play a role in helping people deal with trauma and helping people like increase their resiliency and helping people cope. But, you know, again, those are more reactionary things to what’s happening. So as far as like prevention, something that’s really important to me that I was thinking about while everyone was speaking is like identity development in especially among Black people. My mom made it her mission to make sure I understood. I was very empowered as a young Black person that I knew the Black history that wasn’t being taught in schools and my self-esteem was always very high. As a young person, I always felt very capable of accomplishing things because I was, had that background, was proud of who I was. And I think it’s important that we focus on identity development with young people, too.
Adam Geer: I think what Diamond said is, is really, really important. And a lot of these shootings and murders we’re seeing are the result of Instagram beefs, right? It’s like people sliding each other on Instagram. And then because of the proliferation of guns, because we can’t regulate as a city, because of the state preemption law, it’s easy as all heck to get a gun. And these young people who are still developing who are experiencing all this trauma, who are coming from the hardest areas imaginable in our city. Right. With the least resources. It’s very easy to pick up that gun and go and commit a shooting. So we really need to dig in and we need to commit as a city and be real about it. Because I got to be honest with you, it doesn’t seem, I mean, there’s there’s organizations out there, Tyrique, we need to be giving them more money. We need these, the money to be, it’s like the spigot’s got to open and it’s got to flow, and it’s got to be meaningful and it’s got to be for real. If we’re serious about it.
And that’s why I get the sense that we’re not really serious about it, because the money’s got to just start flowing and it’s got to go to these organizations that are going to wrap around these people who are most vulnerable. Okay. Got to wrap around them. Give them what they need. Talk to them. Get them in a position where they’re just not going to snap off or pop off or be able to go out and get a gun. Right. Give them the really the solutions that they need to succeed. And again, I second everything that Tyrique just said about the people around this table. The future is bright. That’s why I have to be optimistic. The future is very, very, very bright. And the reason why stopping first doesn’t work is because we all Black and Brown men like us, right? They stopped this man. They stopped you on the street. That’s a problem for society because it makes him angry. It makes me angry. It makes us disillusioned. And that’s why it doesn’t work. We’ve got to be smarter about this all around.
Kole Long: I want to ask, what else have you seen work, you know, on a neighborhood level that you believe will reduce violence in the long term, if not immediately? So any concrete examples of things people have seen that have really been able to work?
Taahzje Ellis: Something I’ve seen work very well is community gardens. I think that they bring the community together and and it helps a lot, especially when like a food desert, a lot of places are having good access to fresh foods. It not only gives you that access to to good foods, that’s not, you know, killing your body or like poisoning your body, but it brings the community together and makes it tightly knit and it just helps overall. And that’s one of the big examples I’ve seen all over Philadelphia just having a garden for people to go to and connect with one another. That’s just one of the major things I’ve seen.
Ajourdi Hargrove: We need more wellness events. They actually just had one at Bayou Philly, at 50th and Baltimore. It was an open mic and there were all poets and the poets in the center. If you’re waking up in the morning and you’re maybe doing a prayer, maybe doing a meditation, incorporate that into your profession, maybe the de-escalation conversations. I took a de-escalation training at Face To Face, Germantown. Face to Face Germantown is located at 123 East Price Street. They have a lawyer on staff that you can go talk to. They have a social worker on staff.
Tyrique Glasgow: So I would say for stuff that’s proven, the prime need to be had, since this conversation is about police and community is really addressing the youth PDX.
And I think that would probably be a strong implementation, especially in different districts that are, have that challenge and communication and with the youth PDX will allow them to really give advice and information to the captains, the word like the command and officers for those districts. So you can really target appropriate safe zones and information that you can help with your PSAs, and PSAs are police service areas.
So you can say, Captain, this area, you know, is it has to like but this is the area where our, my little brother, he walking to school. There is no crossing guard. There is you know that the cars go fast on it, maybe put some speed bumps, things like that, where you can have that communication and it’s effective within your area.
Like for us as a organization, we like to target who we see every day. Like we can’t address everything in the city of Philadelphia. So it’s like, how can we make the 17th district and PSA 2 safe, you know, like, how can we bring our library? And that’s a challenge for us. Like there is no library in Grays Ferry. So when you talk about literacy and education, it’s like, okay, we don’t have the funding. So maybe we can partner with our 17th district that can partner with the library to open up a mini hub, you know, and those are the things that that happens but expanding them.
Kole Long: This conversation has been extremely substantive. I don’t know about everyone here, but I’m the kind of person who it might take me a day or two for this to really marinate in my mind, for me to really understand this, and then be able to take this and go out into the community, to go out into my area and implement the things we’ve learned. So kind of going around the table. I want to know what everyone feels like they’re going to walk out of here with what’s a tool or a strategy or something you heard that you feel you want to implement in conversations with your friends or colleagues that you work with or kids that you work with. What’s something from this conversation that you want to take with you to bring into the world?
Diamond Walker: I really just got an emphasis on the fact that it’s not just one solution that’s going to solve anything, it is honestly a collaboration of all of the resources that exist. You know, also just want to point out, even though the conversation kind of became like Black male centered, that, you know, we also don’t forget Black women in the violence they face, as well as non-binary people, Black people, just all the genders across Black people that also experienced a lot of violence.
Tyrique Glasgow: I have to continue to give away my blessings, to give away the structure and the hope that was given to me. My relationship with the police, department, agencies and even brothers who are in suits and ties but understand the cause and the mission. So this conversation gives me hope, some more purpose out there, because we know that our tomorrow, they need their support. They need their help because ten years ago I was out there just like you feel I have to act the certain way. I have to do a certain thing. But there was brothers in police department personnel who said, no, navigate this way. And this is a platform. And I think I’ve gained some more relationships and some trust in how our tomorrow’s going to look.
Adam Geer: I’ve got to do a better job of reaching out to younger people professionally, personally, because it’s very clear that that’s where this next wave of power is going to come from. You know, you get siloed in your job, you get solid in your family of responsibilities and things like that. You feel like you’re doing your part to bring about meaningful change in the city in whatever capacity that looks like. But the reality of it is, is that there are brilliant young people who need support and mentorship and who are going to pick up the flag and keep going with that.
And so my takeaway is that I will aim to be better about my mentorship, my outreach on a personal level, professional level, so that we can capture that intelligence and really give it the boost that I think it deserves and the attention it deserves, so thank you all.
Taahzje Ellis: For me, I’m taking away just the knowledge that there are people who are fighting for people like me. Everyone here is fighting for the same thing. We all want it to stop. And I think that’s like one of the most important things for me is that I’m just, I have this knowledge and I’ve seen, I’ve seen all of you that you actually care about change because I don’t usually get to be around people who actually, you know, who are serious about this.
Kole Long: I think I agree with everyone around the table. I’m going to butcher the quote. But James Baldwin, I think at one point, said that to be Black in America is to be in a constant state of rage. And I think in hearing everyone talk, we’re, we’re all very much aware with that idea. We live with it every day. And sometimes that can be a hindrance or an obstacle to us in order to get to that progress we want to make. But listening to everyone here, it’s just like. I think our magic is taking that rage and channeling it into energy that we can use to really, really make some change, and this stuff isn’t impossible.
We’re all in the same family. We’re all on the same team. We might be doing different jobs. Wearing different suits, living even in different places. But we’re we’re all part of one connected family, one connected movement. So what I would say is, look at yourself. Those of us listening, look at yourself not just as your own individual person like you were saying, not just as an employee of this place or a member of this family, but you’re a member of a larger community and a larger movement.
And it’s exciting. I think sometimes it gets framed as a, you know, oh, we’re we’re down and out. We’re struggling, we’re fighting. No, I’m excited, you know, and we’re going around talking. I’m like, Yeah, this is we’re going to do this. This is going to happen in my lifetime. In all of our lifetimes. We’re going to see real, real change. So take it seriously, treat it as important as it is, and help each other out because it’s so much harder to do stuff alone and there’s no need to when we have resources naturally by being by being ourselves. So just yeah, reach out each one to each one and know that the the future that you want is there. We just got all work together.
SAM: PHILLY STOP AND FRISK: REVISIT OR RESIST IS A PRODUCTION OF WHYY AND TEMPLE UNIVERSITY’S LOGAN CENTER FOR URBAN INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING. I’M SAM SEARLES, GUN VIOLENCE PREVENTION REPORTER AT WHYY.
KOLE: AND I’M KOLE LONG, A SENIOR MAJORING IN MEDIA STUDIES AND PRODUCTION AT TEMPLE UNIVERSITY’S KLEIN COLLEGE.
SAM: OUR EXECUTIVE PRODUCER IS SARAH GLOVER, WHYY’S VP OF NEWS AND CIVIC DIALOGUE. OUR PRODUCERS ARE YVONNE LATTY, THE DIRECTOR OF TEMPLE’S LOGAN CENTER FOR URBAN INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING, AND SAMMY CAIOLA, GUN VIOLENCE PREVENTION REPORTER AT WHYY.
KOLE: OUR EDITOR IS JORDAN GASS POORE. MUSIC IS BY EMIR MATOUK, OUR ENGINEER IS AL BANKS.
SAM: SPECIAL THANKS TO THE JONATHAN LOGAN FAMILY FOUNDATION.
KOLE: PLEASE RATE AND REVIEW WHEREVER YOU ARE LISTENING AND HIT US UP ON SOCIAL MEDIA. WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU.
SAM: AND CHECK OUT OUR GUN VIOLENCE PREVENTION STORIES AND SOLUTIONS ON WHYY.ORG AND TEMPLE LOGANCENTER.ORG. PLEASE JOIN US IN THIS CONVERSATION AND THANKS FOR LISTENING.collapse
When WHYY asked listeners for their opinions, the answers were conflicting:
“I’m against stop and frisk. It’s a violation of our rights,” said Deidre.
“Provided it is done within the constraints of the constitution, I think the prevailing levels of crime make it worth considering,” said Chuck.
The panel in Episode 5 of “Stop and Frisk: Revisit or Resist” features Philly residents, nonprofit leaders, and young people discussing ideas and asking important questions, and not just about stop and frisk.
Some at the table thought police should be involved, like Ajourdi Hargrove: “The solution of community policing does involve police along with community; it’s people and police. There’s a P in both words. You understand what I’m saying to you? That equals power.”
Adam Geer, the Philadelphia Deputy Inspector General for Public Safety, said that police aren’t currently able to fully engage with the communities they work in. “The reality is we’re short-staffed… they can’t do these things that I think would be effective, like building community communications and community relations with the people in the neighborhoods that we need so that we can get the information on the individuals who are causing the most problems.”
More questions arose, such as whether gun violence is a public health issue, why the city seems to be in favor of more drastic, shorter-term solutions, and how much Black and brown people in leadership really know what’s going on in the streets of Philadelphia day to day.
When we asked young people what we are supposed to do about this crisis,16-year-old Taahzje Ellis said issues like stop and frisk need a spotlight:
“This is a conversation that needs to go down, especially with the youth, because we have to be the ones to rise up… who will be the ones to project our voices to the world? This is awfully important for everyone to know and learn about, especially if you’re Black or brown.”
This final podcast episode could be the start of the conversations that are needed to tackle the underlying issues that threaten public safety.
Listen to Episode 5 of “Stop and Frisk: Revisit or Resist” to hear some community-generated potential solutions to curbing gun violence and improving relations between the community and police.
Stop and Frisk: Revisit or Resist
Explore diverse perspectives and solutions to Philly’s gun violence crisis. Could beefing up this controversial police tactic help keep the city safe?
WHYY is your source for fact-based, in-depth journalism and information. As a nonprofit organization, we rely on financial support from readers like you. Please give today.
Brought to you by Stop and Frisk: Revisit or Resist
Stop and Frisk: Revisit or Resist
Subscribe for free
How Philly’s gun violence crisis fluctuated across 30 years of police commissioners
A look at how the city has fared under its most recent top cops.
3 weeks agoListen 5:28
Philadelphia prison escape aided by man charged in deadly cheesesteak shop brawl, police say
Authorities say two escaped prisoners in Philadelphia were helped by a fellow inmate who’s charged with murder for a brawl outside a famed Philadelphia cheesesteak shop.
3 weeks ago
Three years, no arrests: Ahmad Morales and Philadelphia’s homicide clearance rate
The national homicide clearance rate is at an all-time low. Philadelphia’s numbers are lower.
4 weeks ago