Philadelphia/ Community & Society
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Published on May 10, 2024
Citizens Police Oversight Commission Investigates Philly's Clearing of Kensington Homeless EncampmentSource: Google Street View

The Citizens Police Oversight Commission (CPOC) has officially voiced its concerns over the recent takedown of the Kensington Homeless Encampment by Philadelphia police. Eyewitnesses and victims alleging police malfeasance have a direct line to lodge their complaints, with the watchdog urging folks to call 215-685-0891 or email [email protected]. This comes after the Commission declared it would conduct a thorough after-action review of the operation which garnered outcry from local communities.

According to a statement made by CPOC on their website, the operation at the encampment caught the attention of many. “The Citizens Police Oversight Commission (CPOC) shares the community’s profound concern regarding the recent dismantling of the Kensington Homeless Encampment,” they mentioned. The CPOC is to quickly move forward with their assessment to ensure clarity and to address the ire of the community members affected.

In the report, the oversight body underscored its ongoing commitment to promoting public safety measures that are rooted in accountability, transparency, and fair policing methods that respect the rights and dignity of all Philly residents. "CPOC remains committed to advocating for public safety through accountability, transparency, and equitable policing practices that prioritize the well-being and dignity of all residents in our city,” the statement read.

Community organizations and other witnesses to the police action are also encouraged to come forward. The Commission is looking to collect varied perspectives on the presence and conduct of law enforcement during the clearing operation. Philly's law enforcers have been previously scrutinized for their interactions with unhoused populations, and this latest incident seems to only intensify the scrutiny under which they operate. Questions linger as to whether there was a necessity to so sharply enforce the dismantling of the Kensington encampment, and what measures could have been employed to better respect the humanity of those displaced.