Council Moves to Prohibit Offensive Symbols on City Property

The call for regulation comes several weeks after a Confederate flag was allegedly discovered on a narcotics officer’s personal vehicle.

regulate offensive symbols

City Hall | Photo by David Gambacorta

Weeks after a Confederate flag was allegedly discovered on a Philly narcotics officer’s personal vehicle, City Council is moving to prohibit potentially offensive symbols on city property.

City Council president Darrell Clarke and Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown have introduced a bill that would allow the city to regulate certain symbols, materials, and objects in or on city-owned facilities. 

Under the legislation, the Commissioner of Public Property could prohibit symbols that cause “anger, alarm or resentment in others on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, gender and sexual orientation” if the symbols prompt “workplace inefficiencies and disruptions.”

Clarke told CBS3 that though “this is America, and people have a right to say and do certain things … you cannot have a workplace environment that’s offensive and problematic to your coworkers.”

The Confederate flag was reportedly found early last month, while the officer’s vehicle was parked at a narcotics unit on Wissahickon Avenue. Shortly after it was discovered, the Guardian Civic League – the local chapter of the National Black Police Association – and the local NAACP called for a full investigation into the PPD’s Narcotics Unit, alleging that the symbol and other incidences have led to a “racially hostile work environment.”

At the time, Guardian Civic League president Rochelle Bilal said the city had “advised the corporal that he may not park his vehicle on city property while displaying a Confederate flag,” according to Metro.

“We appreciate this action, but believe that much more is needed,” Bilal said. “We are very concerned that this corporal may have white supremacist ties, and if so, he should not have a badge.”

Follow @ClaireSasko on Twitter.