Philadelphia police

Police Inspector Who Lost Nephew to Gun Violence Speaks on Black Lives Matter Movement

A veteran Philadelphia Police Inspector whose nephew was recently shot to death says he supports the Black Lives Matter movement and police reform while remaining devoted to reducing gun violence in the city

NBC Universal, Inc.

It’s been an emotionally exhausting few weeks for Philadelphia police inspector Derrick Wood. The 22-year veteran watched the nationwide protests, unrest and conversations about police brutality and racism in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death. He’s also had to deal with the loss of his nephew, 22-year-old Tyshawn Woods, who was shot and killed a few days ago in the city’s Logan neighborhood. 

After his nephew’s death, Wood shared a message on his Twitter page. 

“My nephew’s name is Tyshawn Woods,” he wrote. “He was a 22-year-old black man. Say his name, his life mattered. #BLM”

As of Tuesday night, 177 homicides have been reported in Philadelphia, the highest number up to this point in more than 13 years. 

“We need help,” Inspector Wood said. “It can’t just be the police and the same community members we rely on. We hear that all the time.”

Wood challenged NBC10 to do our part in helping to reduce the violence in the city.

“Things I would like to see, on your station for example, a couple times a day you have someone come on and talk about how gun violence impacted them,” he said. 

Wood told NBC10 every murder impacts him and he wants the same energy he saw over the past two weeks for George Floyd to also be devoted to victims of gun violence in Philadelphia. 

“I love BLM, they absolutely do matter,” Wood said. “I’m black. My son is black. My mom, most of my friends. I really believe that movement is good. Some of the change is good. I’m all for police reform.” 

Wood also acknowledged changes needed to be made in order to improve the relationship between police and the black community. 

“Some of the reform efforts are going to do that,” he said. “We’ve got to do a better job. When someone does something in our profession, no matter where it is, that happened in Minneapolis but it affected us because people see us all as one."

Wood believes there needs to be more transparency with officers to improve the level of trust. He also referred to Floyd’s death as a “modern day lynching.” 

As demonstrations in Philadelphia and across the country continue, Wood said he’ll do his part to end both gun violence in the city as well as police brutality and racism across the country. 

“Racism is real,” Wood said. “We all experience it. And also we need to reform our policies and be more transparent. I’m all willing to take a knee for that.”

There are additional resources for people or communities that have endured gun violence. Further information can be found here.

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