PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — For a second day, Philadelphia police have an increased presence in parts of the city. Extra officers have been seen roaming in groups all over Philadelphia’s City Hall on Thursday, and the Municipal Services Building is also barricaded from all sides.
Police are not expecting any threat but are out in an abundance of caution.
Philadelphia’s Emergency Operations Center is activated for a second day to keep a closer watch over the city after Wednesday’s violent riots that breached the U.S. Capitol building. Around the national landmarks on Independence Mall, visitors may also notice an uptick in law enforcement.
“You’re going to see an increase in security presence,” JJ Klaver, a retired FBI agent, said.
— Matt Petrillo (@MattPetrillo) January 7, 2021
Klaver says to expect more protection at the Liberty Bell, Congress Hall and other national institutions for at least the next few days.
“The Federal Protective Police and the National Park Service, they supplement their manpower with private contract security,” Klaver said.
Meanwhile, Bill McSwain, the Trump-appointed U.S. Attorney in Philadelphia, tweeted on Thursday that he reached out to his colleagues in Washington, D.C. and is “offering any possible assistance in sorting out and prosecuting any federal crimes that were committed.”
“They broke many federal laws,” Chip Gallagher, the chair of sociology and criminal justice department at La Salle University, said.
Gallagher says rioters could be charged with trespassing, destruction of federal property and other related crimes.
“This is the Capitol building. I guarantee you there are cameras everywhere,” Gallagher said, “and now, they have face recognition information.”
Gallagher also pointed out that rioters’ own egos could land them in jail.
“So they’re very proud of themselves, they’re going to post on social media and essentially incriminate themselves,” Gallagher said. “It’s going to be corroborating information for the FBI to use.”
Police in Washington have already made dozens of arrests, including 12 people from Pennsylvania and one man from Cape May, New Jersey. The FBI announced it’s seeking the public’s help to identify more.
Charley Ramsey is a former Philadelphia police commissioner and blames President Donald Trump for the chaos at the Capitol.
“This is about as close to a coup attempt that the country has ever gotten to,” Ramsey said.
University of Pennsylvania law professor Claire Finkelstein believes it’s possible that Trump committed a crime.
“The question is whether or not the president was intentionally trying to interfere with the peaceful transition of power and trying to launch an attack using his supporters as weapons against the U.S. government,” Finkelstein said. “If we were to find out additional facts that suggested some intentionality on the part of the president, then I believe he could be guilty of sedition.”
There’s a protest happening outside of City Hall in Philadelphia that’s part of other protests across the country. Demonstrators are urging Trump to leave the White House.
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