Philadelphia Mayor John Street yesterday expressed indignation about those who would “second-guess” officers who have fatally shot civilians in a recent spate of incidents, says the Philadelphia Inquirer. In an interview before a ceremony to honor fallen police and firefighters, the mayor said officers cannot wait until they are fired upon to decide if their lives are in danger. “We don’t expect members of the Philadelphia Police Department, for example, to wait and see if it’s a gun or a cell phone,” Street said, referring to a case last week in which police shot and killed an unarmed man carrying a cell phone.
Street signaled a new tack in his so-far-unsuccessful push to tighten Pennsylvania’s gun laws: The rise in police shootings is more evidence that the city is awash in guns, and the lives of police officers are increasingly at risk. His remarks came after three confrontations in less than a week in which police fatally shot civilians. That brought the number of civilians killed by police so far this year to 12. Seven were killed during all of last year. He said that in nine of the 12 shootings, the person who died had a gun. In 2001, the last year former Police Commissioner John F. Timoney was in charge, there were two fatal shootings by police in Philadelphia.