PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A group tied to white supremacists held a rally over the weekend in Center City Philadelphia. And now some are questioning why police allowed the rally to go on for so long without intervening.
“It’s triggering as a Black person to see white supremacists parade in Philadelphia,” Abdul-Aliy Muhammad said.READ MORE: ACLU Announces Philadelphia Police Pilot Program As Alternate To Stop And Frisk
And that’s exactly what Muhammad saw Saturday night, a group of 200 men affiliated with the group Patriot Front marching through Center City.
“We know that they’re anti-semitic, we know that they’re racist, they’re white supremacists. They believe white people are the true inheritors of America and they’re trying to take it back,” said Shira Goodman, the regional director of the Anti-Defamation League.
Muhammad says when he saw the rally at about 11 Saturday night, he stopped to record it. But it eventually turned violent and he says he stepped in to protect a counter-protester.
“I did not expect to be pushing, shoving, fighting white supremacists. I was going to capture them on video and photo to make sure that this was documented,” Muhammad said.
Muhammad says he first encountered those protesters outside of the Holocaust memorial on Ben Franklin Parkway. They then made their way all the way across Center City to Penn’s Landing.READ MORE: Police Arrest Kareen Welton For Several Hit-And-Runs In Philadelphia, Including Crash That Killed Woman In Center City
Muhammad says he’s surprised they were able to make it so far without police intervening.
“They did absolutely nothing when they threw smoke bombs at us, when they hit people with shields, when they hit people with fists. They did absolutely nothing,” Muhammad said.
Mayor Jim Kenney’s office condemned the protest and said no permits were requested or granted.
And police said in a statement, they were there to make sure the march remained peaceful, and no one’s First Amendment rights were violated.
Goodman says they’ll be looking into whether the Patriot Front was treated like other protesters.
“We want to make sure that a group of white men and white supremacists who come in to do that aren’t getting any kind of special treatment, aren’t getting any kind of worse treatment than anybody else who is protesting,” Goodman said.MORE NEWS: President Joe Biden Touts Made In America Plan During Trip To Mack Truck Facility In Lehigh Valley
No one was seriously injured and no arrests were made.