TWU Local 234 renews calls to bring National Guard to Philadelphia after violent week – CBS Philly

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/ CBS Philadelphia
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It’s been a violent week when it comes to shooting incidents near or on SEPTA buses. The head of TWU Local 234 said his drivers are “troubled,” and added some are leaving the job over safety concerns.
“Sitting at the bus stop, you’re not safe. You don’t know who is going to come up and shoot you,” Rita Crawford said. She lives in North Philadelphia and often uses the bus to get to doctor appointments.
Four incidents from Sunday through Wednesday happened at a bus stop or on a SEPTA bus. In total 15 people were shot, and 3 people, including a 17-year-old, were killed.
“I don’t feel safe at all. And I feel especially at the time of school release, it’s a nightmare on SEPTA,” Jenni Paul who lives near the Art Museum said. She relies on SEPTA since she doesn’t have a car.
New surveillance video, released by Philadelphia police, shows the moments a rider was shot and killed on a bus after what police call a “dispute” with another passenger Tuesday night in South Philadelphia. Less than 24 hours later, two SEPTA buses were riddled with bullet holes as they got caught in the crossfire near Rising Sun and Cottman avenues. Eight teenagers were shot and injured there.
“We need help. Philadelphia is under siege, OK?” Thomas Venable from Germantown said. He frequents several bus routes to get around the city.
TWU Local 234 President Brian Pollitt said in a phone interview that help can come in the form of bringing in the National Guard. The union represents about 3,000 SEPTA drivers.
“We need some of these people that are doing these acts to see that soldier with that M16 in their hand so maybe they’ll second guess doing the nonsense,” Pollitt said.
This week, National Guard troops started patrolling the New York City subway following an order from Governor Kathy Hochul.
As for it happening in Philadelphia, this was Mayor Cherelle Parker’s answer on Thursday, “I committed to the people of the city of Philadelphia that we would release, on my 100th day, a comprehensive neighborhood safety plan, public safety plan here in the city of Philadelphia.”
A spokesperson for the mayor’s office reiterated Friday through email, Parker “did NOT endorse bringing in the National Guard.”
Parker also told reporters on Thursday, “I will not take any legal and constitutional tool away from our law enforcement to make our public health and safety our number one priority, and we want to engage every partner that we can to help us.”
Meanwhile, Shapiro told reporters on Thursday, “I have no plans to deploy the National Guard on the streets of Philadelphia or to our systems of mass transit. 
Nikki DeMentri is a general assignment reporter with CBS Philadelphia. The Central New Jersey native is thrilled she is sharing the stories of where she grew up.
First published on March 8, 2024 / 5:09 PM EST
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©2024 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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