PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — One year ago, I-676 in Philadelphia looked like a war zone. Protesters were tear-gassed by police. Now one year later, newly released video shows the chaos that ensued on the Vine Street Expressway during demonstrations following George Floyd’s murder.
Screams of panic and fear. A demonstration one year ago today went from calm to chaos.
New video released Tuesday by attorneys representing more than 200 people reveals fresh angles of how Philadelphia and Pennsylvania State Police drove protesters off a city highway.
It was late in the afternoon, June 1, 2020.
The crowd managed to get onto the Vine Street Expressway following three days of demonstrations and violent civil unrest in the wake of Floyd’s murder.
Philadelphia Police had come under heavy criticism for standing down while looting and vandalism flared up across the city.
The department swung back hard on the expressway demonstrators, deploying tear gas and rubber bullets.
Michael Coard is an attorney on the case.
“We want substance, and if the police department, if the city of Philadelphia, if they’re not talking about substantive change, real change, then we gotta force them to do it. And how do you force them to do it? By getting a federal judge or federal jury to make it happen,” Coard said.
In a news conference Tuesday, attorneys detailed continued litigation efforts to hold the city accountable, calling for reform of decades of continued systematic brutality in the aftermath of the I-676 incident as well as the gassing for hours in West Philadelphia.
“What we saw was the brutal effort on the part of the police department of Philadelphia to utilize military munitions and these tactics against peaceful protesters and residents,” an attorney said.
One Philadelphia police officer who is now off the job was eventually charged in connection to pulling down a female protester’s face mask and spraying her with pepper spray. Late last month, those charges were dropped by a municipal judge.
Eyewitness News reached out to the mayor’s office in regards to Tuesday’s news conference but has not heard back.