Meek Mill, Malcolm Jenkins headline forum on what Philly needs in next police commissioner

Cherri Gregg
October 29, 2019 - 4:00 am
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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Hundreds packed into the Bonnell Auditorium at Community College of Philadelphia Monday night for a forum on what the city needs in its next top cop.

The town hall was organized by the Players Coalition and brought in leaders in criminal justice from across the city to discuss possible solutions for reform, beginning with the appointment of the next commissioner for the Philadelphia Police Department.

"The system is like a big monster and there's so many different layers to it," rapper Meek Mill told the audience as he spoke about his personal experience with police. 

The rapper, who drew a crowd, discussed his case and instances where he was stopped by police during his time on probation and accused of crimes he did not commit — instances where he lost hundreds of thousands of dollars only to be released from prison after the accusations were determined to be unfounded.

"It's time for all of us to step up," he said. "We need to find a way for this thing to work."

The room was packed with young people, who asked questions about criminal justice, policing and reforms. Most called for accountability from police.

"Horrible things have happened, and I think there is no doubt that police commissioners who have been in charge, they are the leaders and they have allowed it to happen on their watch," said Patricia Cummings, supervisor for the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office Conviction Integrity Unit.

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Cummings said the system in the city has been racist and the culture of policing and law enforcement must change.

"Training will not fix this," she said. "The train left the station a long time ago."

"It's not one thing or another. It's a complete overhaul of the way we go about policing," said Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins, who hosted the event. 

The purpose, Jenkins said, is to give those impacted by policing a platform. 

They offered booths where attendees could speak about what they wanted in Philadelphia police leadership, and the information will be packaged and sent to Mayor Jim Kenney.

"We want people to be able to be heard," he added.

"I'm not going to lie, I really came because I wanted to meet Meek," said 15-year-old Nasir Anderson, a sophomore at Audenried Charter School. He said while Mill was the draw, "I do care about my community and learned a lot."

Other speakers included leaders from the Defender Association, Power and Rally for Justice Coalition.