PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A lot of questions are being asked Sunday after Philadelphia police cleared a large group that had permits to gather at a West Philadelphia park. It was a chaotic scene at Malcolm X Park on Saturday night as hundreds of park-goers and police filled the streets.
Reports have surfaced of alleged fighting, but Joseph Clifton says that is simply not the case.
“We had a permit and everything,” Clifton said. “Peaceful, no fighting. Nothing out of the ordinary.”
The former Naval officer says he and his friends were filming a video and hosting a cookout in the park when police first asked for music to be turned down around 8:30 p.m. on Saturday.
Then police — in a video taken by Clifton — returned a short time later.
“They were all shoulder-to-shoulder, they had their batons out. They had their bicycles and they were taking their bicycles and ramming people with the bicycles, like get out of the park,” Clifton said. “They came in there with hostile intentions. That was evident from bringing 100 cops, 30 cops to tell us to turn the music down at 8:30.”
“We paid $140 on [July 25] for 300-plus patrons to come out with us,” another park-goer said.
In addition to the permit, a Philadelphia city ordinance — which includes Malcolm X Park — has the park’s closing time at 10 p.m.
“It was young black people all in one spot together having a great time,” Paris Green said.
There are plenty of questions that remain.
Philadelphia police were not available for comment at the time of publication.
CBS3’s Dan Koob reports.