Video: PAU’s Mike Mellon on PhillyCAM

On October 2, the Defenders’ Police Accountability Unit Chief Mike Mellon spoke with Danielle Wilson on PhillyCAM about some of the issues related to policing and public safety in Philadelphia.


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Watch the video below:


Keisha Hudson on Court’s Dismissal of Irizarry Shooting Case

PHILADELPHIA—“Our (mostly Black and Brown) clients never get to present or argue a justification defense at a preliminary hearing. And they certainly do not get their cases dismissed based on a judge’s determination that there was a justification defense.


“Instead, our clients—all of whom are poor and almost exclusively Black and Brown people—have their cases held for trial, and they sit in jail for months awaiting their day in court. Going forward, certainly before this forum, Defender Association attorneys will be making the same arguments and demanding the same results.”


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Keisha Hudson on First Year of Driving Equality Law


Driving Equality has had a significant impact in cutting down racially-motivated pretextual stops, and no negative impact on public safety.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_empty_space][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]PHILADELPHIA–“The Defender Association of Philadelphia joins Councilmember Isaiah Thomas in celebration of the one year anniversary of the Driving Equality Law, and thanks him for his vision and leadership in making this law a reality in Philadelphia.

“I also want to highlight the Defender’s Police Accountability Unit for the outstanding work they’ve done to compile and analyze the data that guides the purpose of this law–reducing the number of unnecessary, negative encounters between police and community members. The data is clear: Driving Equality has had a significant impact in cutting down racially-motivated pretextual stops, while having no negative impact on public safety.

“To truly appreciate Driving Equality, we should look beyond what the law does, and celebrate the thoughtful, evidence-based and collaborative approach to its creation. Driving Equality didn’t just happen–it is the culmination of months of debate, discussion and collaboration between City leaders, the Defender Association, the police and the community. Driving Equality is being studied and replicated by other American cities because it’s a great example of a ‘good government’ law that takes a balanced, data-driven approach to public safety and racial justice.

“The Defender Association is proud to be recognized for our subject matter expertise in this area, and are thankful for the opportunity we’ve been given to work with Councilmember Thomas and his team on this now nationally recognized model legislation.

“We’re committed to working together with elected leaders, justice system and community stakeholders on future endeavors to increase trust and cooperation between Philadelphia residents and institutions.

“We’re thrilled to be celebrating one year of Driving Equality, and hope that this law is the first of many legislative initiatives aimed at making Philadelphia a more just and safe city.”

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Defender Association Selected for the Catalyst Grant Program

The Defender Association’s Police Accountability Unit has been selected by Urban Institute & Microsoft for the 2022 Catalyst Grant!

The Defender Association is one of 30 local organizations across the country selected to participate in the Program. With Catalyst Grant funding, the PAU will publish a data dashboard that will empower community members to understand racial disparities in car stops across Philadelphia.

The dashboard, which will be automatically updated with the most current data available, will illustrate the intensity of police activity in neighborhoods across the city and show disparities in police stops by race, gender, and age.

It will help policymakers, legal practitioners, and community members understand patterns in car stops since Philly’s Driving Equality law was enacted, identify policing trends and systemic issues across the city, and challenge the effective legality of racial profiling in car stops.

Click here to learn more about the 2022 Catalyst Grant Program

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