After a chaotic night of unrest in Philadelphia, officials are taking no chances if things get out of hand Tuesday, as several hundred National Guard troops have been called up to help local agencies in “protecting life, property and the right to peacefully assemble and protest.”
Monday night’s assembly was far from peaceful. More than 30 police officers were injured in a night of violence that started with the protest of a police shooting earlier in the day. “For today and this evening, we anticipate the chance of additional incidents of civil unrest and, as such, we will be taking additional steps to ensure order,” Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said during a news conference.
The city is strategically placing an increased number of police officers at what they call “key locations” to be prepared if Tuesday night gets violent.
“We were hoping that we won’t have any repeat of we’ve seen last night and we’re taking every precaution that we can,” Mayor Jim Kenney said at the press conference. The city has been on edge since 27-year-old Walter Wallace, who struggled with mental health issues, was shot by police officers and later died. Wallace was armed and refused to drop the knife he was holding after multiple commands. What started as a protest in the streets turned into a violent night of rioting and looting, with 91 arrests. Eight police vehicles were damaged, and one was set on fire Monday night.
Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden issued a joint statement with his running mate Kamala Harris, saying, “Walter Wallace’s life, like too many others’, was a Black life that mattered — to his mother, to his family, to his community, to all of us. At the same time, no amount of anger at the very real injustices in our society excuses violence.”