'It was horrible': Philadelphia grandmother hit with rubber bullet during protest speaks out

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A West Philadelphia grandmother hit by a rubber bullet discharged by police during a recent protest is speaking out.

Crystal McBee tells Action News she was trying to find her granddaughter who was at the May 31 protest and take her home.

Once located, McBee says she saw a SWAT truck pull up to 52nd and Market streets and release tear gas on the crowd of residents.

Struggling to breathe, McBee says she and her family ran to what she thought was safety, not thinking it would be anything but.

RELATED: Philadelphia mayor, police commissioner apologize after tear gas used on protesters on I-676
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Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw and Mayor Jim Kenney publicly apologized for authorizing the use of tear gas and pepper spray on protesters that spilled onto Interstate 676.

"By the time I got to Sansom Street to turn around to see where granddaughter was, that's when I got struck in the head with a rubber bullet and my head instantly swelled up," said McBee.

"It was horrible. I was an innocent bystander and end up getting hurt," said McBee.

In an effort to bring more attention to what unfolded, Councilmembers Helen Gym and Curtis Jones are calling for a public hearing on the police response to those demonstrations which will help shape legislation in the fall involving the police use of tear gas.

"There was no handbook that could have prepared Philadelphia for what we experienced, but we should learn from our experiences," said Jones. "This hearing will provide that forum."

"It is essential that the process of review be a public one. This includes hearing from residents who were not participating in demonstrations yet whose neighborhoods were tear gassed without warning; from demonstrators subjected to rubber bullets and chemical agents while exercising their constitutional rights; and from communities who witnessed largely white armed vigilante mobs treated differently by police than people protesting racial injustice," said added Gym.
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