They’re copping to this mistake.
Philadelphia’s mayor and the city’s top cop apologized Thursday for police tear-gassing protesters near a highway on June 1, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
Mayor Jim Kenney and Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw had both defended the move for weeks prior to Thursday’s press conference.
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Their apologies only came after a New York Times video breakdown showed that police had lied about the incident and clearly demonstrated how cops boxed in protesters, forced them up a fenced-in hill and then fired tear gas as they tried to escape.
“I humbly apologize to those who were directly impacted as well as to our communities at large,” Outlaw said, according to local Fox affiliate WTXF. “I am extremely disturbed and quite frankly sickened beyond description.”
Local reporters, protesters and numerous videos had already disputed police accounts in the weeks between the June 1 tear-gassing and Thursday’s press conference, but Kenney and Outlaw had stood by the cops until the Times breakdown.
Police had claimed that a state trooper was in danger and that protesters became violent and threw rocks at cops, which Kenney and Outlaw used to defend the firing of tear gas. As the breakdown shows, none of that stuff happened.
Outlaw also issued a moratorium on tear gas usage by cops in the city starting Thursday, the Inquirer reported.
After Outlaw and Kenney apologized, deputy commissioner Dennis Wilson went down as the minor fall guy, according to WTXF. The incident commander that day, Wilson said he authorized the tear gas usage without contacting Outlaw first and was taking a voluntary demotion.
Outlaw and Kenney also addressed a video, viewed widely on Twitter and included in the Times package, of a SWAT officer pepper-spraying three protesters who were kneeling on the highway, local NBC affiliate WCAU reported. That officer, who was not identified at the press conference, has been suspended for 30 days with intent to dismiss, pending an investigation.
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