PHOTO: By Mark Makela/Getty Images/AFP

Three class-action lawsuits filed in Philadelphia on Tuesday accused the city of using military-level force that injured protesters and bystanders alike during peaceful protests against racial inequality and police brutality.

Iran PressAmerica:  According to AlJazeera, One lawsuit accuses the Philadelphia police of lobbing tear gas and firing rubber bullets at protesters indiscriminately as they marched peacefully on a city highway. Another accuses the police of using tanks, tear gas, pepper spray, and rubber bullets in a Black-owned business and residential district, at times injuring people in or near their own homes.

"They were just opening fire on anybody they saw, for hours and hours, regardless of any conduct or justification," said Bret Grote, legal director of the Abolitionist Law Center, who called the police response to demonstrations that rocked the city in May and June reckless.

They were shooting children. They were shooting old people. They were shooting residents on their own street. They were gassing the firefighters," he said.

The lawsuits, involving more than 140 plaintiffs, were filed the same day the city announced the resignation of Philadelphia Managing Director Brian Abernathy. The suits were filed by the law center, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, and various civil rights lawyers in the city.

Both the city and the police department declined to comment directly on the lawsuits. However, Mayor Jim Kenney, in a statement, said the city is conducting an independent review of both situations.

"I am highly concerned about what transpired on both I-676 and 52nd Street and I fully regret the use of tear gas and some other use of force in those incidents," Kenney said. "The investigation is still underway, but any officer found to have violated [department] policy will be held accountable."