The Philadelphia Police Department has a new policy on how to engage subjects suspected of trespassing on private property. The policy change comes two months after the arrest of two men in a Starbucks was captured on video that went viral.
“Officers are now instructed to first attempt to de-escalate and mediate disturbances between property owners and accused offenders. Before an officer arrests someone, that person must understand he or she is not allowed on the property. The officer also must witness the person refusing to leave,” according to Fox News.
“While business owners may exclude persons from their establishments, they cannot misuse the authority of police officers in the process,” the policy says. “Such misuse may lead to a technically lawful arrest, but can create the appearance of improprieties on behalf of the officers and the Department.”
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said, “I view this policy as another positive step as our city learns and grows from the Starbucks incident… pain can lead to progress, and this new policy is an important milestone on that journey.”