Philadelphia will waive all protest-related code violation notices (CVNs) that were issued between May 30 and June 30, Mayor Jim Kenney announced Wednesday.
The CVNs include disorderly conduct, failure to disperse and curfew violations.
Since protests over the death of George Floyd, racial injustice and police brutality began in the city in late May, hundreds of demonstrators have been arrested for code violation notices.
“My decision to waive these violations is not a statement on the validity of the individual citations,” Kenney wrote. “Rather, it is a recognition of the core concerns that caused thousands to demonstrate on the streets of Philadelphia.”
“In waiving these notices, I recognize that those issues are vitally important, that the pain of those marching is very real, and that their message -- Black lives matter -- needs to be heard every day until systemic racism is fully eradicated from this city and nation.”
Anyone who received a CVN between May 30 and June 30 and has not paid does not need to take any additional action. Anyone who’s already paid their CVN can contact OAR customer service at 215-567-2605 and follow the directions for a refund.
“The referenced CVNs are civil matters and do not include criminal matters that are within the purview of the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office,” a spokesperson for Kenney wrote.
Some of the responses from both the Philadelphia Police Department and Mayor Kenney to the ongoing protests in the city have been criticized. Kenney and Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw both admitted fault and apologized for the use of tear gas on protesters who were marching on I-676 back on June 1.
After Kenney's announcement Wednesday, Fraternal Order of Police president John McNesby criticized the decision to waive the CVNs.
"Mayor Kenney and city leaders have again apologized to those who displayed unacceptable and criminal behavior in our great city," McNesby said. "It's sad to see the Mayor and his staff have endorsed outright lawlessness and given up any attempt to hold people accountable for criminal activity. And we question, why our city has a major crime problem?"