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Man Pulled off SEPTA Bus - Video; Philly Church Open on Easter; Fmr State Rep Released From Jail
  by: iradioal - Philadelphia, PA
started: 04/11/20 12:20 am | updated: 04/11/20 12:20 am
Cell phone video shared on social media shows Philadelphia Police officers forcibly removing a man from a SEPTA bus in Center City on Friday morning, 4/10. This happened near 11th and Market Streets. Police were called because the man refused to exit the bus after being asked to leave since he was not wearing a mask. The new 'Lifeline Service' schedule that went into effect on Thursday, 4/9, included a requirement that all SEPTA passengers wear a mask when riding. SEPTA General Manager Leslie Richards said earlier this week, "We're going to enforce. Not only can an operator of a vehicle refuse a rider that does not have a mask on, we will also have members of our transit police making sure." However, after the video of the man being pulled from the bus went viral, SEPTA has updated that policy. A statement read in part, "SEPTA yesterday started requiring customers to wear facial coverings to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. That policy will no longer be enforced. ... While SEPTA urges riders to cover their faces, those who refuse will not be barred entry to the system." The new policy simply states, "we URGE all customers to wear a mask or other facial covering when traveling on SEPTA to protect customers and Operators."

For more information go to: and

The Philly Transit Riders Union also put out a statement:

The coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic has shuttered the doors of many buildings from businesses to rec centers and malls to concert halls. Even without strict stay-at-home orders, people wouldn't have very many places to go anyway. Some of the holiest holidays for the world's three major religions (Passover, Easter, and Ramadan) happen this week and later this month. However, just as gatherings are discouraged in every other place, so too are gatherings discouraged at places of worship, even during these important dates of celebration. Many religious institutions have embraced technology and allowed congregations to participate remotely as clergy perform ceremonies privately over livestream video. Even families wishing to be together to have the holiday meals are finding ways to connect without having to gather in one place. However, at least one church has announced that their doors will be open on Easter Sunday.

SEE: Live Video Stream Mass from Immaculate Conception BVM Church Jenkintown for Holy Week

Greater Exodus Baptist Church on North Broad Street in Philadelphia does not plan to keep the doors locked and pews empty of congregants this Sunday, 4/12, for Easter celebrations. Rev. Dr. Hebert Lusk II (former Eagles running back and team Chaplin) says "We cannot quarantine our faith nor our calling," he said. "We're not trying to pack them in here at all." They will be limiting the number of people in the church and sitting them two to a pew to practice social distancing. "We won't allow more than 50 people to come into the sanctuary. Only 50," he said. Congregants will also be able to pick up gloves, masks, and hand sanitizer as they enter. Lutz also said those that are ill or elderly should stay home. Mayor Jim Kenney said, "I don't think we're at a point where we are going to go into churches and arrest pastors or participants or lock the doors. Hopefully, people will listen to common sense and pray at home."

Former Pennsylvania State Rep. Movita Johnson-Harrell has been released from jail early due to crowding concerns because of the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak. Johnson-Harrell pled guilty to stealing over $500,000 from a non-profit she founded to help the mentally ill and poor fighting addiction. At the end of January, she was sentenced to 3-months in a Philadelphia jail and 8 ½ months on house arrest. That is followed by 8 ½ months on parole, and 2 years probation. She also has to pay restitution to her non-profit. John-Harrell pled guilty to theft by unlawful taking, theft by deception, and perjury. All three were felony charges. The non-profit is called Motivations Education & Consultation Associates. Johnson-Harrell was not scheduled to be released from jail until May. She will instead begin house arrest. Johnson-Harrell was chosen in a special election in 2019 to serve the 190th legislative district. She resigned in December 2019.

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