Senator Art Haywood Talks About Recent Events In the Region

Alex Lloyd Gross File Photo- Sen Art Haywood speaks at a recent event.

By Alex Lloyd Gross

Defund the police. That is the battle cry for protesters as they march through the country.  Do they really want no police? According to Senator Art Haywood, (d) “No,  in my opinion, and only my opinion, i don’t think they want to get rid of the police. We should not get rid of the police but police should be retrained. If they were trained properly, none of this would have happened,”.  The former cop who put his knee on George Floyd’s neck might have been trained properly, but he did not follow his training. When the riots happened, they hurt everyone.

“I was very upset about what happened in my district, and across Philadelphia,” Haywood said.”We spent so much time trying to get businesses in the economically depressed areas of the city. They come and now this happens, it is terrible. A lot of those businesses will not be coming back,”   Those caught burglarizing a business or setting it on fire have no sympathy from Haywood. “They need to be punished , it’s wrong what they did,” he said.

Rioters took to the streets earlier in June of 2020.  They went out of the inner city and into suburbs to cause mayhem. This was across the United States. In Florida  sheriff Grady Judd  warned would be robbers to stay away. ” People will be in their homes tonight with guns loaded.”  Click the link. That comment starts around 7:24. Locally, the rioters tried to come into Bucks  and Montgomery Counties.  In Philadelphia a gun store owner shot and killed a looter.

“People have been cooped  up for the quarantine , the protests  happened because people were upset and they wanted to get out.They were outraged at what they saw and they saw that as a release,” Haywood said.  There is a difference between protesters and rioters. He believes most of the protesters were peaceful. A very large  handful  of the many protesters turned to crime. “Some followed mob mentality” Haywood said.

Social media posts may shed some light on why looters did  what they did. Low wages.   Many low wage workers are tired of taking two buses to a job that pays $8.25/hr, while the boss drives a fancy car to work. PA house republicans have not passed a minimum wage increase in over 12 years.  This rage has been building and the looting was the boiling point. Not every minimum wage employee was looting  and not every highly paid well educated person was behaving, either. in New York, two lawyers face up for 45 years in prison for firebombing police vehicles. They have their supporters who want them released. Those supporters say they committed “property crimes”.

Defunding the police and disbanding the police in favor of community patrols is not a viable option.  This was tried in Seattle. In the “Cop Free Zone” Several people were shot. In Atlanta,  there are reports of white people being hurt who go near the Wendy’s  where another police shooting happened. That area has been converted to a “Cop Free Zone”  When a shooting does happen, those people in the “No Cops” zone cannot handle it and call the police. Disarming the police or taking away tools they use for crowd control is not the smartest thing to do. Bowing to public pressure Mayor James Kenney and Police Commissioner   Danielle Outlaw publicly apologized to the thousands of law breakers who illegally took over  676. They also banned the use of tear gas on protesters.  Criminal justice experts think that is a bad idea, as it emboldens people to do it again.

The Community based patrols that Black Lives Matter protesters want  exist in New York. The Shimra and Muslim Community Patrol enforce cultural rules only. For example 15 years ago a restaurant in Crown Heights , (which has a very heavy Jewish population) was caught serving non kosher Hot Dogs. The city could not care less what kinds of food they serve. The Jewish Patrol ( Shimra) closed the restaurant down and made them throw out the food and utensils used to cook the non Kosher Food.  These community patrols do not chase robbers, do not respond to disturbances and have no power of arrest.

Philadelphia has it’s own encampment on 22nd and Ben Franklin Parkway.  There, they make their own rules and don’t want police to come there. Some of the people there are mentally ill. ” Being homeless is a large problem in this community and with COVID-19 and the riots, it is being overlooked,” Haywood said.  “Having police free zones, I don’t think is the way to go.” he said. The homeless  are frustrated, just as low wage workers are frustrated. They are being given every excuse why no more money is being put into their pockets and it is a flashpoint.