PHILADELPHIA – July 7, 2018 — Senator Vincent J. Hughes (D-Philadelphia/Montgomery) issued the following statement concerning a widely publicized incident that occurred outside of the Philadelphia Zoo that resulted in the arrest of a black teenager.

“There needs to be a complete, public, and transparent investigation of this incident,” Hughes said. “But this incident raises a series of other issues that need to be addressed and confronted: although all the facts aren’t known in this incident, if you remember the Starbucks and York female golfers incidents, we’ve seen too many cases where the police are called on black people in this country for behavior that rarely warrants their involvement. Also, the two security officers, one black and one white, appear to have some different views on how this incident was addressed. That needs to be explored from all angles.” 

“With regards to our youth, in the richest country in the world, why aren’t we providing more educational and recreational opportunities for our youth during the summer? We let far too many of our children wander aimlessly, with nothing to do, during the summer and that’s never good. I’ve raised money for summer youth programs, and introduced legislation for dramatically expanding summer youth programs, especially around summer jobs. Quite frankly, the business community in Philadelphia comes up woefully short in their lack of support of summer youth opportunities.”

“With so much wealth in this country, no young person should have to be selling water on the street to fund their football team. It’s my intention to continue to push these ideas and priorities, while working to create a 21st century law enforcement system that has justice and common sense at its core. We must stay vigilant and if no good answers are forthcoming, protest. But, protest must always lead to policy. Truth, justice, and systemic change must be the goal here.”