Philadelphia Police Banned from Pulling Drivers over for Minor Traffic Violations
Democrat mayor signs legislation banning cops from acting on lower-level violations
The Democrat-controlled city of Philadelphia has banned police officers from pulling drivers over for minor traffic violations.
PPD cops will no longer be able to pull cars over if they spot a lower-level violation, such as a broken tail light.
Philadelphia's Democrat Mayor Jim Kenney signed the two bills last week that will restrict the powers of police in the city, according to The Hill.
Earlier this month, the Philadelphia City Council passed a pair of bills that seek to address the “tension” between the community and the police.
The measures aim to minimize "negative interactions" with cops during minor traffic stops, which some say disproportionately impact minorities.
One of the bills also creates a public database of all traffic stops.
The legislation is set to go into effect 120 days after it is signed, according to The Daily Wire.
“These bills end the traffic stops that promote discrimination while keeping the traffic stops that promote public safety,” the city council said in a statement on October 14, the day the bills were passed.
“This approach seeks to redirect police time and resources towards keeping Philadelphians safe while removing negative interactions that widen the divide and perpetuate mistrust.”
One of the “Driving Equality” bills amended the city’s Traffic Code to reclassify seven offenses as “secondary violations.”
Secondary violations include things like broken taillights or brake lights, bumper issues, improperly displayed registration stickers, and inspection violations.
The city council passed the minor traffic violations bill 14 to 2.
Police will still be allowed to pull over drivers for “primary violations,” violations that are a threat to public safety.
The second bill mandates that police create a public database with information about all traffic stops, updating it at least monthly.
That bill passed 15 to 1.
The bills were introduced earlier this year by Councilmember Isaiah Thomas, who expressed his gratitude to fellow council members for their votes to pass them this month.
"I am humbled by every person who told my office of the humiliation and trauma experienced in some of these traffic stops,” Thomas said in a statement.
"To many people who look like me, a traffic stop is a rite of passage – we pick out cars, we determine routes, we plan our social interactions around the fact that it is likely that we will be pulled over by police.
"By removing the traffic stops that promote discrimination rather than public safety, City Council has made our streets safer and more equitable.
"With this vote, I breathe a sigh of relief that my sons and my friends’ children will grow up in a city where being pulled over is not a rite of passage but a measure of the safety of your driving and vehicle, regardless of the skin color of the driver.”
The Philadelphia Police Department said in a statement that it supports the legislation.
“We believe this is a fair and balanced approach to addressing racial disparity without compromising public safety,” PPD said.
“This modified enforcement model for car stops furthers the Department’s priority of addressing the issue of racial disparity in the Department’s investigative stops and complements the Department’s efforts to address these same issues in pedestrian stops.”