Philadelphia House Delegation leadership reacts to PSP trooper now off force

Reiterates need for transparency in policing, upcoming law to combat profiling

PHILADELPHIA, May 10 – Members of the Philadelphia House Delegation today said they were grateful to the Pennsylvania State Police for conducting a thorough investigation into the State Police traffic stop and arrest of Celena Morrison and Darius McLean on I-76 in March and reiterated the need for transparency in community policing. 

The unnamed PSP trooper involved in the incident was placed on administrative leave two months ago pending an internal investigation and is now no longer employed with the State Police, according to a PSP spokesperson.

Delegation Chair Morgan Cephas said that while the investigation likely remains ongoing, she is grateful that Pennsylvania State Police officials took the matter seriously and handled the matter swiftly and professionally.  

"As chair of the delegation, I'm glad that the State Police have heard our concerns and took the time to hold a fair and impartial internal investigation into this matter, which has led to the officer involved no longer being employed by them,” Cephas said.

“I also commend the State Police for speeding up their commitment to make sure all officers working in Philadelphia have active body cameras. This will go a long way in protecting the citizens of Philadelphia as well as the hardworking members of the Pennsylvania State Police who serve and protect us day in and day out. This kind of transparency is critical when incidents like the one in March occur.”   

The implementation of the body-worn and dash-mounted cameras was part of a statewide rollout to all troops which began in 2023. At a March state budget hearing, PSP Commissioner Christopher Paris promised Philadelphia lawmakers a quicker rollout for the region. The rollout of cameras for Troop K was completed in April. PSP said they expect to have all stations in Pennsylvania equipped by the end of the first quarter of 2025.

State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, co-chair of the LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus and treasurer of the House Philadelphia Delegation, said he was thankful PSP officials took the investigation seriously, though the traffic stop and escalation of force by the PSP trooper remain deeply troubling to him. Morrison and her husband are members of the LGBTQ+ community.

“The Pennsylvania State Police made good on its promise to us by conducting a fair and thorough investigation into the incident and by making sure the trooper involved did not interact with the public, especially after video of the escalation surfaced,” Kenyatta said. “This is why body-worn cameras are key. Historically marginalized and discriminated against people and communities should not have to get out their phones to record their interactions with police just to ensure accountability. It is incumbent on government to ensure that the law enforcement officers who are sworn to protect the public should bear that responsibility and accountability. I am heartened to see Pennsylvania moving in the right direction here.” 

Delegation vice-chair Danilo Burgos said the body-worn and dash-mounted cameras also will complement a bill passed by the PA House this week and sent to Gov. Josh Shapiro for his signature. The bill (S.B. 37), which Shapiro is expected to sign, will require the State Police and larger police departments to collect profiling data during traffic stops and report any searches conducted.

“In addition to cameras, the bill passed in the legislature this week with bipartisan support comes with strong safeguards to protect privacy and make sure the commonwealth gets the facts about potential bias in all traffic stops,” Burgos said. “This data is important to ensure that drivers are treated equally and to eliminate the profiling of individuals.”

Data collected will include the reason for the traffic stop; the perceived race and ethnicity of the driver subject to the traffic stop; the gender and age of the driver subject to the traffic stop; whether a search was initiated, including a search of a vehicle or the vehicle operator or passengers and, if a search was initiated, whether the search was conducted with the consent of the operator or passengers; the results of a search; and whether the traffic stop or subsequent search resulted in a warning, citation, arrest or other action.

Cephas said the delegation will continue to support public policy initiatives on the state level that would provide transparency in policing while ensuring police departments have the resources they need to effectively serve the public.