PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney says the city will drop all code violation notices handed out to demonstrators during the protests against police brutality and racial injustice that followed the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis while in police custody.
Kenney said in a written release Wednesday that he was taking the city Law Department’s recommendation and dropping the violations issued to protesters between May 30 and June 30. Kenney said that criminal charges filed during the protests are under the purview of the District Attorney’s office and were not included in the dismissal announced Wednesday.
The majority of code citations were for violations of the curfew put in place nightly at the beginning of the protests and for disorderly conduct such as failing to disperse. Curfew tickets carry a $25 fine and failure to disperse carries a $50 fine.
“My decision to waive these violations is not a statement on the validity of the individual citations,” Kenney wrote in the statement. “Rather, it is a recognition of the core concerns that caused thousands to demonstrate on the streets of Philadelphia. In waiving these notices, I recognize that those issues are vitally important, that the pain of those marching is very real, and that their message — Black lives matter — needs to be heard every day until systemic racism is fully eradicated from this city and nation.”
City officials did not have final numbers on how many code violations were issued during that time, but said through June 25 there were more than 750 including 316 curfew violations, 338 failure to disperse tickets and 80 disorderly conduct violations.
City officials said if someone has already paid a code violation ticket, they can ask for a refund by calling the Office of Administrative Review’s customer service line.
While Kenney waived the violations in Philadelphia, prosecutors and district attorneys across the country have been issuing similar blanket dropping of charges for misdemeanor protest charges in places like Pittsburgh, Fort Worth, Texas, Salem, Ore., and others as well as by federal prosecutors related to a protest outside the White House. In Dallas, the city’s police chief dropped all curfew violations handed out during protests on May 31 and June 1.