city council members

Philadelphia City Council members listen to recommendations on how to curb gun violence. PHOTO BY SAMARIA BAILEY

National Action Network (NAN) – Philadelphia Chairman Paula Peebles said police officers selling guns on the streets is driving the city’s rampant gun violence.

Peebles revealed details about a specific incident she is dealing with through NAN at the #ManUpPHL and City Council gun violence hearing, held at the Christian Stronghold Baptist Church on Tuesday. As of Tuesday, the Philadelphia police reported 44 murders.

“There are police officers that are selling guns to young African-Americans in the city of Philadelphia,” said Peebles. "I know this because NAN is dealing with a matter currently where a young man was sold a gun, by a white police officer’s son, with a silencer. And when he was not able to come up with all the money and refused to give him the gun back, he went to his daddy and his daddy has a bounty of police officers looking for this young man to try to retrieve the arm back. That’s selling illegal guns to our children so young Blacks can kill Blacks. We can’t talk about gun violence in our community without addressing the issue.”

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Peebles testimony was in sharp contrast to the dozens of others by activists and loved ones, who’d lost relatives and friends to guns and mostly plead for solutions such as mental health accessibility, funding for community programs, conflict resolution in schools and jobs. She added that while all of these are still necessary, city leaders needed to "get real.

“We got to keep it real, we cannot be afraid of the police. There are bad police just like there are racist, white supremacist Nazi police,” said Peebles. “The police department [is] selling guns to our children who are in turn taking those guns and killing our children. We cant’ just talk about the programs. We are going to have to…remove the cancer. It’s a cancer in our community. [Outlaw] is going to have to line her soldiers up and start investigating them for what they are perpetuating in this city and that’s the sale of guns.”

A request for comment from the Philadelphia Police Department was not answered but recently, Commissioner Danielle Outlaw cited an “inequitable distribution of wealth” as a driver of the homicides and said it will take working “collaboratively” to solve the problem.

City Councilman Curtis Jones, who moderated the hearing, responded to the allegations.

“Paula Peebles, over the years, has been a credible source,” he said. “If what she is alleging is true, it is deeply disturbing and could be deeply damaging to the level of trust between the community and the Philadelphia police force.”

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