Rapper and activist Meek Mill and Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins participated in a town hall on Monday about policing. Together, they called for fairness and openness in the search for the next police commissioner.
The goal of the meeting, Jenkins said, was to give local residents “who don’t have the platform of the microphone a chance to have their voices heard” by city officials, the Philadelphia Tribune reports.
Racial profiling and police corruption were also hot topics during the panel discussion at the Community College of Philadelphia. At one point, Meek urged law enforcement and local residents to work together to create solutions to pressing issues facing the public.
“The relationship [with] the police gotta be bridged. If it’s not going to be bridged, it will forever be separated. I don’t think anything can be done about it until both sides step up,” he said. “We’re here, we’re talking today, we’re ready to step up. I don’t know if there are any police officers in the building today, but after this, I hope we can just build and make things work.”
Jenkins was also on hand to lead his voice to the discussion about the city’s next police commissioner.
“This is something that we can’t afford to get wrong,” Jenkins said. “Getting it right means making sure that the people who are being policed have the chance to be heard. It’s about having substantive dialogue. That’s what you have when people are given the opportunity to speak from their own voices and not just those who are always in front of a microphone.”
He also noted that there must be “accountability” and “transparency” in the search for a new chief. Jenkins cited the Plain View Project, a database that exposed the racist social media posts of more than 300 Philadelphia cops, who he said “eroded the trust” for police.
Mill also noted his own dealings with law enforcement. The rapper has been in and out of prison and on probation for a decade on a misdemeanor gun charge.
“The next commissioner is going to have a lot of responsibility to make sure that things that have happened to people like me don’t continue to happen in Philadelphia,” Mill said.