Philadelphia Police officers join #MeToo movement; speak out against abuse within ranks

Wednesday, October 10, 2018
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Philadelphia Police officers join #MeToo movement; speak out against abuse within ranks: Vernon Odom reports on Action News at 5 p.m., October 10, 2018.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The leader of the Philadelphia Guardian Civic league, the black police officer's association, lashed out at the police department leadership and indeed all of city government Wednesday, claiming sexual harassment by higher-ups has gone on for decades with no real improvement.

Standing with her Wednesday, more than a dozen present or former city employees who claim to have been on-going victims, from the Water Department to the Department of Licenses and Inspections and on down the line.

"We've dealt with men screaming in our faces, whistling at us like we are dogs. We have dealt with inappropriate sexual behavior," said Guardian Civic League president Rochelle Bilal.

None of the women would give their names or detail and incident.

The best-known case surrounds Philadelphia Police Captain Lavern Vann.

Vann, a 30-year veteran of the force, said with multiple witnesses present she was physically assaulted last week by Chief Inspector Anthony Boyle as she arrested a drug suspect during a raid in North Philadelphia.

"He physically assaulted her and the department leadership

sits silent," said Bilal.

Capt. Vann and Inspector Boyle have a history of clashes. She and several other black female officers filed a federal civil rights lawsuit last year against Boyle and other commanders.

Mayor Jim Kenney said workplace harassment will not be tolerated and he is monitoring the Vann-Boyle case.

The Police Commissioner and the District Attorney said they are awaiting the results of an internal affairs investigation into the latest flare-up between Capt. Vann and Chief Inspector Boyle.


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