Three years ago, Mayor Kenney “reestablished” the department’s civilian oversight board. So, WURD’s afternoon host wonders, what’s so different this time?
Every big city mayor, hand forced in the moment, has to act big. In Philadelphia, that act is Groundhog Day. Pushed publicly to do something dramatic—in the wake of George Floyd, Philly police violence and nearly two weeks of restless protest—Mayor Jim Kenney announced Tuesday a brand new permanent civilian oversight commission.
The problem: This isn’t anything new. Philly has had a civilian police oversight commission for nearly 30 years. Kenney himself just re-invented and re-branded it three years ago—basically doing the exact same thing he’s doing right now.
When President Obama recently offered a somewhat soft-response and non-binding “police use of force” pledge for mayors to follow as protests rocked big city streets, Philadelphia’s Jim Kenney was quick to jump on the bandwagon.
“We have heard their cries loud and clear,” Kenney tele-prompted in a brief Twitter snippet responding to Philly protesters already bruising from the tear-gassing and baton-swinging of cops going extra. “While Philadelphia is already taking some of the steps recommended by the respective groups … We know there is always room for improvement. We look forward to working with our community to begin this process of real change and real healing.”