What now? Philadelphia councilmembers want increased security after July 4 shooting

City council members are calling for more police support, increased surveillance technology and legal stop and frisk interactions.

Maggie Kent Image
Tuesday, July 5, 2022
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"Now is not the time to bury our heads in the sand," said Councilmember Katherine Gilmore Richardson.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Following the shooting near the Ben Franklin Parkway which sent thousands of fireworks spectators running in fear, Philadelphia city council members said now is not the time to back down. It's time to double down on efforts against gun violence.

"Now is not the time to bury our heads in the sand," said Councilmember Katherine Gilmore Richardson.

In part, they were responding to Mayor Jim Kenney's comments on July 4.

SEE ALSO: Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney issues statement on 'happy when I'm not mayor' comment

During an overnight news conference, Kenney decried the ongoing gun violence in the city, saying "I'm concerned every single day. There's not an event or a day where I don't lay on my back at night look at the ceiling and worry about stuff."

But the mayor raised eyebrows when he continued, "So everything we have had in the city over the last seven years, I worry about. I don't enjoy the Fourth of July. I didn't enjoy the Democratic National Convention. I didn't enjoy the NFL Draft.

"I'm waiting for something bad to happen all the time. I'll be happy when I'm not mayor and I can enjoy some stuff," Kenney said.

Councilmember Cherelle Parker said she picked up the phone and called Kenney right then. She said the comments were "asinine" and that Philadelphians deserve more.

"They don't want us to say that we're throwing up our hands, that we can't do anything. We don't have the luxury to do that," said Parker.

In a statement issued Tuesday afternoon, Kenney said he wanted to clarify his comments.

"In a late-night, overwhelming moment of frustration, I said I was looking forward to no longer being mayor. Let me be clear, I'm incredibly grateful to be mayor of this great city and for the people who elected me to lead," Kenney said.

Kenney said he wanted to be mayor to help "every Philadelphian reach their potential."

During a news conference Tuesday afternoon, city council members called for more police support, increased drone and surveillance technology and legal stop and frisk interactions.

SEE ALSO: 2nd bullet found after officers shot at Philadelphia's July 4th celebration

"That's a conversation that we're going to have to have. You can't have an environment where everyone is carrying an illegal gun," said Council President Darrell Clarke.

Shots fired at Philadelphia's July 4th celebration sent Jeff and Gail Brim running.

"People were just picking up and running but we didn't know where to run to," said Jeff Brim.

The Brims, who were visiting Philadelphia, live 25 minutes from Highland Park, Illinois, where a gunman killed seven people and injured 30 more at an Independence Day parade.

"We came, thinking that we were fortunate in some ways we were here, with all of the history that we were here; and far away from that," said Gail Brim.

They say the metal detection and police presence at the event made them feel safe.

Joe Sullivan, the former deputy commissioner of the Philadelphia police department, said event organizers need to look at securing the perimeter.

"I think barricade placement needs to be looked at so that someone who went through magnetometers can't interact with someone who hasn't," said Sullivan.