PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – City officials met last night to discuss ways to stop violent mobs of teenagers from rampaging through Center City. This comes after weekend attacks that left several people injured and an 11-year-old in police custody, charged in the attacks.
The meeting lasted over two-and-half hours. It included Mayor Michael Nutter on a conference call, Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey, and Deputy Mayor for Safety Everett Gillison.
“This is not just a policing issue, this is a community response issue and as a result of that, we want to make sure that we stay tightly targeted in how we will respond,” Gillison says.
So in addition to an increased police presence in Center City, Gillison says city agencies will reach out to work with these teens.
Ramsey says there will be an increased police presence in Center City, but he adds, it’s going to take more than cops to stop these mobs, “You’re talking about 15, 16 year-olds, 17, 18-year-olds and above. They’re responsible for their own behavior, so this isn’t just a city problem, a government problem. These are people who need to learn how to control themselves.”
One of the victims of Friday night’s attack, Jeremy Schenkel, recounted the attack on CBS3 Eyewitness News. He says the kids were laughing as they beat and kicked him, and not only was there the attacking mob, there was also a group of kids cheering them on.
“Almost like an admiring group that was following them, just kind of ragging on people, and one of those guys said, ‘It’s not our fault you can’t fight,’” Schenkel recalls.
Schenkel says if he could talk to his attackers, he’d ask one simple question: “Why? Why are you out at 9:15 at night causing mayhem in Center City, hurting people? What’s wrong in your life that you think this is fun?”
Schenkel says he still has a sore jaw, but he says compared to other injuries he saw from these attacks, he says he considers himself lucky.
Reported by Jim Melwert, KYW Newsradio 1060 and Walt Hunter, CBS 3