PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia officials are condemning a group of Fishtown residents who were armed with baseball bats in their neighborhood on Monday night. Mayor Jim Kenney called the group’s actions “antagonistic and made a bad situation worse.”
“Armed vigilantism will not be tolerated moving forward,” Kenney said.
The residents ended up in front of the 26th District headquarters, where another group opposed their presence. Police kept them separated, but Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw says the groups ended up clashing after leaving.
There was one report of an assault.
“To be clear, we do not condone any acts of violence and as an agency, we do not take sides. Our mission is to always protect all persons personally,” Outlaw said.
Outlaw stated that a group of residents doesn’t represent the Philadelphia Police Department.
“I would not describe that group as someone that I would want speaking for me or speaking on behalf of my police department,” the police commissioner said.
Kenney was “disturbed” by reports of some of the officers high-fiving and taking photos with the residents armed with bats. He said it took too long for the officers to disperse the group.
“We tolerated it last night for too long and that was a mistake. We will not tolerate it moving forward,” Kenney said.
The mayor welcomes residents standing up for their neighborhood in a peaceful and non-threatening way.
“We do not condone vigilantism. We understand a community’s desire to protect their neighborhood and if they want to do that in peace, we would allow it, regardless of neighborhood,” Kenney said.
District Attorney Larry Krasner says the armed group “shames the entire city.”
“The video of men marching through the streets of Fishtown armed with bats, a hatchet, and other weapons is disgusting. Reports and images of their innocent neighbors being beaten, threatened, and addressed with hateful speech by them are devastating. And, if confirmed, reports that some police officers witnessed and tolerated this conduct without arresting them only add to the hurt arising from George Floyd’s killing by police,” Krasner said in a statement Tuesday.
“The sight of armed vigilantes in Philadelphia streets shames the entire city. By marching through Fishtown armed under the guise of protecting police — who are already armed themselves with guns, shields, helmets, and other weapons — from people who just want to be heard, those men further reinforced the idea that people cannot peacefully question authority without meeting violence.”
The city has been dealing with looting, violence and vandalism since Saturday while peaceful George Floyd protesters are still making their voices heard.
Nearly 700 arrests have been made in the city. Over two dozen police officers have been injured.
A curfew goes into effect at 8:30 p.m. tonight in the city and will last until 6 a.m. Wednesday.