It’s Time To Pay Up


Erin Slaughter, Student Writer

A father. A son. A cousin. A friend. A man who millions of people could relate to.

George Floyd’s murder rocked the nation, and it did not take long for protesters to hit the streets in support of him and his family. What it made it worse was the video that was shared across numerous social media platforms. The world watched as a man pleaded for his life and his pleas ignored. Mothers all around the world heartbroken his last cry outs were for his own mother.

When protesters took to the streets in Philadelphia in 2020, all hell broke loose. Protesters claim the officers who were there to “keep the peace” used rubber bullets to shoot at them while they were protesting. Video that had been taken that day also shows tear gas and pepper spray been used against protesters in the crowd.

The protesters, the victims, of this incident came together and filed a class-action lawsuit for the physical and emotional injuries they sustained on May 31 and June 1, 2020, after protesting the murder of George Floyd. On Monday, March 20, 2023, the city of Philadelphia has agreed to settle the case. They have agreed  to pay $9.25 million to more than 300 people who say there were injured.

Although some say it is a victory, not everyone feels this way. A Philadelphia woman who is included in the 9.2-million-dollar settlement says it not enough. She recounts some of her painful memories from that day.

“Most of the time, though, it’s a prompt for difficult memories. What should be a tender moment of togetherness becomes a reminder of police violence, of clouds of tear gas, of screams and hails of rubber bullets. Of women screaming in pain in the back of a police van as the zip ties dug into our flesh.”

The settlement comes with a grant between with $500,000 and 600,000 to the community to provide free mental health counseling and community-led programming for not only the plaintiffs in the case but those who live in a certain radius of where the incidents took place.

The city has also agreed to disengage from a “1033 program” that hey have used in the past. This federal program armed state and local law enforcement with military grade equipment.

The one thing that the settlement does not include may be the only thing that can push the city of Philadelphia into true healing. The settlement does not include an admission of liability or wrongdoing by the defendants. The court filings with the settlement terms indicate the city continues to deny any wrongdoing.

Can the city of Philadelphia move forward and heal without an actual apology? Money may fix some of the problems but we will have to wait and see if it fixes all of them.