SUPPORTING ADOPTION OF POLICE PROCEDURES FOR REVIEW OF CIVILIAN COMPLAINTS
 
WHEREAS, Bill 297 was introduced in City Council on September 17, 1992, and immediately endorsed by eight (8) Councilpersons;

WHEREAS, Bill 297 calls for the establishment within the Police Department of a comprehensive program and set of procedures designed to adequately and promptly process and review civilian complaints alleging police misconduct;

WHEREAS, a violent confrontation erupted between Philadelphia police officers and demonstrators, including members of the AIDS activist group Act-Up, during a visit by President George Bush to Center City Philadelphia on September 12, 1991;

WHEREAS, on September 18, 1991, former Police Commissioner Willie L. Williams appointed a Citizens' Advisory Group (hereinafter the Williams Advisory Group) to review and investigate the confrontation which occurred between demonstrators and the police on September 12, 1991;

WHEREAS, after a thorough investigation, the Williams Advisory Group published a report making numerous recommendations to the Police Department and citing several police officers for misconduct and police abuse;

WHEREAS, on April 21, 1993, current Police Commissioner Richard Heal released a summary or an internal police investigation of the September 12 incident (hereinafter the Neal Summary) which criticized the report of the Williams Advisory Group;

WHEREAS, the Neal Summary revealed that the Police Department did not significantly discipline any of the police officers who were cited by the Willie Williams Advisory Group as having committed acts of misconduct and police abuse;

WHEREAS, in our own City, notwithstanding the efforts by the Police Department to improve police-community relations, the Police Department reviewed 451 complaints in 1991; [1]

WHEREAS, the City expended $7,013,000 in 1991 and $5,094, 000 in 1990 as a result of complaints and litigation against police; [2]

WHEREAS, the American Civil Liberties Union, Act-Up, the Asian American Bar Association of Delaware Valley, ASPIRE, Inc., of Pennsylvania, the Barristers Association, Black Clergy of Philadelphia and Vicinity, the Community Awareness Network, Consumer Education & Protective Association, the Delaware Valley Ecumenical Council, the Fellowship Commission, the Guardian Civic League, the Hispanic Bar Association of Pennsylvania, the Institutional Law Project, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the National Conference of Black Lawyers, the National Congress for Puerto Rican Rights, the National Lawyers Guild, New African Voices Alliance, the Pennsylvania Prison Society, the Philadelphia Arabian and Gay Task Force, the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia, Tenants Action Group, Urban League of Philadelphia, Women Organized Against Rape and the Women's Law Project have endorsed the passage of Bill 297 and the establishment of a comprehensive program and set of procedure. to adequately provide for the prompt and thorough review by the police of civilian complaints alleging police misconduct;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Board of Governors of the Philadelphia Bar Association proclaims its support of the passage by City Council of Bill 297;

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Philadelphia Bar Association shall take all appropriate actions to make its position known to members of City Council, the Police Department and to the general public.


1. Philadelphia Police Department, Internal Affairs Division, Strategies and Action Plan at 3 (May, 1992).

2. Id. at 9.

PHILADELPHIA BAR ASSOCIATION
BOARD OF GOVERNORS
ADOPTED: May 20, 1993