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Amid rampant rioting and looting over the police shooting of Walter Wallace, the Philadelphia City Council has passed a bill banning the use of tear gas by officers against "peaceful protesters."
Those protected include disruptors blocking highways, Human Events editor-in-chief Will Chamberlain reported.
The bill was first introduced when police used tear gas to disperse protesters impeding traffic on Interstate-676 back in May. The legislature's sponsors argue that such “less lethal” munitions should not be used on demonstrators exercising their First Amendment rights.
The meeting was broadcasted live on Philadelphia Government Access Television (PHLgovTV) and conducted remotely via Zoom.
At the press conference, US Attorney William McSwain was slated to announce federal charges related to the civil unrest during that time, CBS Philly reported.
29-year-old Anthony Smith, a West Philadelphia teacher and activist, has been arrested and accused of arson among others in connection to the burning of a Philadelphia police car during the George Floyd riots in May.
According to the just-unsealed federal indictment, Smith is facing arson of property belonging to an agency receiving federal funding, arson affecting interstate commerce, obstruction of law enforcement during civil disorder, and aiding and abetting. The indictment charged two other men, Carlos Matchett and Khalif Miller, with identical offenses.
Smith was profiled in Philadelphia Magazine’s November issue of "Most Influential" as a lead organizer for the Philadelphia Coalition for Racial Economic and Legal Justice (Philly for REAL Justice) and for his role in toppling the Frank Rizzo Statue that formerly stood in front of the Philadelphia Municipal Services Building at the City Center.
Unveiled over 20 years ago, the memorial was gifted to the city and paid for by Rizzo’s family and friends. The former police commissioner who cracked down on crime during the race riots of 1960s and two-term mayor was seen as a controversial figure by leftists in Philadelphia.