PHILADELPHIA – Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5 is suing the city of Philadelphia and its officials over the new Driving Equity Law.
In October, the City Council passed the first-of-its-kind bill, and Mayor Jim Kenney signed it into law in November.
It bans officers from pulling over vehicles based on traffic violations that are considered “secondary violations” in an effort to prevent racial disparities in traffic incidents handled by police.
The following issues are considered secondary violations in the new law:
- Vehicle not registered within sixty days of the observed infraction
- Registration plate not clearly displayed, fastened, or visible
- Single brake light, headlight, running light, etc. not illuminated
- Minor obstructions
- Bumper issues
- Operation of vehicle without official certificate of inspection
- Unlawful operation without evidence of emission inspection
The lawsuit from the Philadelphia Lodge #5 Fraternal Order of Police was filed on Tuesday.
FOB Lodge #5 President John McNesby said the law is dangerous. “This terrible law puts reckless drivers behind the wheel of unsafe vehicles that ultimately puts the general public in danger,” he said.
McNesby had expressed concerns about the law before it was passed. In October, he told FOX 29 about the importance of traffic stops.
RELATED: Philadelphia’s new driver equality bill prompts confusion over enforcement
“These stops, they lead to bigger things, they find guns, they find drugs, it leads to bigger things,” he said. “Whether you’re Black, whether you’re white, whether you’re Asian, whether you’re Hispanic, obey the law. Get behind the wheel of a legally safe car and you’ll be fine.”
The union also argues the law is not needed due to existing regulations. “This measure is unnecessary and invalid because the City is already protected by the existing and lawful, PA motor vehicle code. We simply ask the public the follow all traffic laws which are written to keep everyone safe,” read a statement from the FOP.
City leaders who sponsored the bill say it will help put an end to traffic stops that promote discrimination and address tensions between police and communities caused by negative interactions.
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