BY: CHRIS DRUMMOND
Philadelphia – (Politics): Tonight at 7pm, while a board meeting is believed to be taking place inside the headquarters of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #5, activists, including the mother of a black man killed by a Philadelphia police officer, will rally outside the building to both show solidarity with Charlotte and Tulsa – two American cities who captured the attention of the nation last week after fatal officer-involved shootings sparked civil unrest and headlines – and highlight several local issues that pose as an impediment to building trust in communities.
A Tuesday night racial justice rally organized by P.O.W.E.R, an interfaith organization consisting of over 60 congregations from the Greater Philadelphia area, will provide a collective voice of opposition to a bill supported by the FOP, which is widely characterized by activists as being anti-transparent, while featuring several speakers, including Mrs. Tanya Brown-Dickerson, the mother of the late Mr. Brandon Tate-Brown, who will address specific issues, such as stop-and-frisk, and, as described by a media advisory released from the group, “a culture of racism that disrespects minority police officers.”
Rev. Mark Tyler, a member of P.O.W.E.R who announced plans for the rally Sunday at his church, said Tuesday’s direct action is the first-step in building a long-term strategy of addressing the police union, leading up to their mid-2017 contract renewal with the City of Philadelphia.
For months now, the talk among many pro-police reform activists have been about the upcoming contract negotiations, with a particular focus on the arbitration process, which has seemed to work exclusively in favor of controversial police officers and against the City of Philadelphia.
A former correctional officer at a state prison, Mr. Greg Brinkley, who years ago held a protest outside the American Arbitrators Association to denounce the process which was allowing so many dismissed officers to regain their employment, compared the City’s defense in these proceedings to a boxer who purposely takes a dive in a fight. The City, said Mr. Brinkley, is a co-conspirator in returning “bad cops” to the street, as their win-loss record in arbitration would suggest they’re not even trying to be victorious.