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Alcohol-to-go Bill Passes PA Senate; Man Shot By Off-Duty Cop Charged; MOVE Disaster 35 Years Later
 
  by: iradioal - Philadelphia, PA
started: 05/13/20 11:43 pm | updated: 05/13/20 11:46 pm
 
A bill permitting some restaurants and bars to sell prepared alcoholic beverages to go passed the Pennsylvania Senate on Wednesday, 5/13. It was a unanimous vote 48-0. The bill previously passed the PA House of Representatives on 4/28 by a 193-9 vote. It will now go to Governor Wolf's desk. Establishments must have a valid restaurant or hotel liquor license and lost more than 25% of their average monthly total sales. They would be permitted to sell mixed drinks from 4 ounces up to 64 ounces for off-premises consumption. Drinks must be sold in a sealed container. If there is a hole for a straw or sipping, that must also be sealed. Sales of alcohol-to-go must stop by 11 p.m. This bill is meant to be a temporary measure to help restaurants and bars during the coronavirus COVID-19 crisis and the mitigation period afterward. When a restaurant begins to operate at 60% capacity, it can longer sell drinks-to-go. Customers are reminded that these drinks are considered 'open containers' and can only be transported in the trunk of the car or in some other area not occupied by the driver or passengers.

"The passage of this bill is great news for Pennsylvania's restaurant industry during the COVID-19 pandemic," State Rep. Perry Warren, who sponsored the bill, said. "It enables our local restaurants selling food, beer and wine to add another product for curbside pickup and takeout during this crisis. I thank my colleagues on both sides of the aisle in both the House and the Senate for supporting this legislation."

SEE BILL: HB 327 PN 3678

A man who was shot and critically wounded by an off-duty Philadelphia police officer who says the man came at him with a pair of scissors was charged on Wednesday, 5/13. 57-year-old Frederick Middleton was charged with simple assault, reckless endangering, and possession of an instrument of crime. The incident happened around 5:45 p.m. on Saturday, 5/9, on the 2500 block of 7th Street. Off-duty Philadelphia Police Officer Jason Santiago saw Middleton going through a recycling bin and breaking glass. When Santiago confronted Middleton, he flashed a pair of scissors and began swinging them at the officer. Santiago fired his own 9mm handgun and hit Middleton in the wrist, chest, and leg. Middleton was rushed to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in critical condition. According to Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw, the shooting is being investigated by the Officer-Involved Shooting Investigations Unit as well as the Internal Affairs Division.

Today marks the 35th anniversary of the standoff/disaster between Philadelphia Police and MOVE members at 6221 Osage Avenue in West Philadelphia. On May 13th, 1985, police attempted to clear the MOVE compound and arrest several members on warrants. This led to an armed standoff and shootout between the fortified row house and authorities. Police dropped a bomb on a bunker on the roof which set off explosions that eventually destroyed the entire block. 65 houses were destroyed, 11 people died including five children, and two members survived.

The City of Philadelphia has never formally apologized for the incident. Former Mayor Wilson Goode is calling for that apology now. He said in an op-ed in The Guardian over the weekend, "But there's something more I want to suggest on this important anniversary. After 35 years it would be helpful for the healing of all involved, especially the victims of this terrible event, if there was a formal apology made by the City of Philadelphia. That way we can begin to build a bridge that spans from the tragic events of the past into our future. Many in the city still feel the pain of that day. I know I will always feel the pain."

Eleven members of Philadelphia City Council issued a statement (see full statement below) and plan on introducing a resolution. City Councilmembers Jamie Gauthier, Kendra Brooks, Helen Gym, Allan Domb, Isaiah Thomas, Katherine Gilmore Richardson, Mark Squilla, Curtis Jones, Jr., Maria Quiñones-Sánchez, Kenyatta Johnson, and Cherelle Parker joined together to say in part, "Today, on the 35th anniversary of the MOVE bombing - a brutal attack carried out by the City of Philadelphia on its own citizens - we offer an apology for the decisions that led to this tragic event and announce our intent to introduce a formal resolution to this effect later this year. We call upon the City of Philadelphia to declare May 13th an annual day of reflection, observation, and recommitment to the principle that all people are created equal and endowed with inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Additionally, we call on all people of the City of Philadelphia to work toward eliminating racial prejudices, injustices, and discrimination from our society."

 
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(1) response

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 by: iradioal - Philadelphia, PA | responded: 05/13 11:46 pm
 
Statement from Philadelphia City Councilmembers Jamie Gauthier, Kendra Brooks, Helen Gym, Allan Domb, Isaiah Thomas, Katherine Gilmore Richardson, Mark Squilla, Curtis Jones, Jr., Maria Quiñones-Sánchez, Kenyatta Johnson, and Cherelle Parker.

"Today, on the 35th anniversary of the MOVE bombing - a brutal attack carried out by the City of Philadelphia on its own citizens - we offer an apology for the decisions that led to this tragic event and announce our intent to introduce a formal resolution to this effect later this year. We call upon the City of Philadelphia to declare May 13th an annual day of reflection, observation, and recommitment to the principle that all people are created equal and endowed with inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Additionally, we call on all people of the City of Philadelphia to work toward eliminating racial prejudices, injustices, and discrimination from our society.

On May 13, 1985, as part of an effort to forcefully evict MOVE, a revolutionary black liberation group, from their home at 6221 Osage Avenue, police fired over 10,000 rounds of ammunition in under 90 minutes at a row house containing children. City officials then made the unconscionable decision to drop a bomb on the home. The resulting explosion sparked a fire, which authorities let burn, not calling firefighters to the scene until nearly an hour later. By the time the decision was made to fight the fire, it was already out of control. Five children between the ages of seven and thirteen, along with six adults, perished in the MOVE house. Two full city blocks were burned to the ground, destroying 61 houses and leaving 250 Philadelphians homeless.

An investigatory commission set up by the Goode Administration concluded that city officials' decision to bomb the MOVE house was "reckless, ill-conceived and hastily approved." The commission recommended criminal investigations and charges, but a grand jury decided that these charges were unjustified. To this day, not one individual has faced criminal consequences or been held accountable in any meaningful way for this act of blatant aggression.

MOVE members, Cobbs Creek residents and property owners, and Philadelphia as a whole have waited far too long for this recognition, which serves as validation of their enduring pain. We also acknowledge the physical, mental, and emotional harm caused on May 13, 1985 to non-complicit public servants and their families as a result of following official orders issued by city leadership. As public officials, we have a responsibility to address this trauma, and to make a good-faith effort to right the wrongs of the past. The City has worked to rebuild the properties, and to provide monetary compensation to former homeowners along with the MOVE organization; however, that is not the same as a genuine apology that recognizes the massive failure in leadership that took place that day.

There are echoes of the MOVE bombing that persist in Philadelphia's police-community relations. Historical discrimination against people of color and unnecessary use of force has shaped a culture of distrust between police and residents. Perhaps Philadelphia could have been set on a different path, had the bombing been widely condemned in the aftermath. But it wasn't, and we are still living with those consequences today.

An apology is more than a symbolic gesture - it's a starting point for conversations on reconciliation, that can build towards a more just and equitable future. We are committed to remembering the devastation that took place on this day 35 years ago, in order to heal the impact of this tragedy and prevent similar such occurrences from happening in the future.

We apologize for the decisions leading to the devastation of that day, and acknowledge the fundamental injustice, cruelty, brutality, and inhumanity of the MOVE bombing. As members of Council, we acknowledge the significant failures in communication, negotiation, and conflict resolution leading up to and following these tragic events.

The work of Mike Africa, Jr., Ulysses Slaughter, Gabriel Bryant, Dr. Pauline B. Thompson, Eric K. Grimes, and a community of activists working tirelessly for justice have been invaluable in this effort. Their commitment has brought critical conversations to light, allowing the process of true healing to begin - and we thank them.

We plan to formalize this apology with a Council resolution later this year. This is a timely opportunity for us as public servants to recommit ourselves to acknowledge all of our history and work towards eliminating injustice from our society."

 

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