The city of Philadelphia had on Tuesday (27) the second night of demonstrations, marked by arrests, violent clashes and looting, the day after the death of a black man by a policeman, which threatens to reactivate anti-racist protests a week ago of Presidential elections we United States.
Police warned on Twitter that 1,000 people looted stores in the neighborhoods of Castor and Aramingo and urged residents to “avoid the area”.
In West Philadelfia, police attacked dozens of protesters.
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf announced the mobilization of hundreds of National Guard soldiers in the city to “protect the right of assembly and peaceful protest, keeping people safe.”
The violence erupted after police on Monday killed a 27-year-old man identified as Walter Wallace Jr., who had mental health problems according to his family. A video circulating on social media shows the moment when Wallace was shot several times by two policemen for whom he did not pose an imminent threat.
“There is a lot of confusion about why the police killed the young man,” said 25-year-old artist Ezra Alidow on Tuesday.
“It’s happening across the country, it’s scary,” he added.
Police announced 90 arrests during the first night of riots and sporadic looting on Monday, as well as the balance of 30 wounded officers, including one who broke his leg when he was hit by a truck.
“For today and tonight, we anticipate the likelihood of additional disorder incidents,” said Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw.
“That is why we are going to take additional measures to guarantee order, including increasing the police presence at key points and mobilizing units to combat looting,” he added.
A wave of anti-racist protests, which in some cases end in episodes of violence, has engulfed the United States since the death of George Floyd, a black man murdered by a white police officer in late May.
Many protesters accuse the police of racism and brutality, but President Donald Trump took advantage of the disturbances to present his name as the candidate for “law and order” in his dispute with Democrat Joe Biden in the November 3 elections.
“We are monitoring the situation closely. We are ready to mobilize federal resources, if necessary. President Trump will not tolerate violence against US security forces, ”said Alyssa Farah, White House communications director.
Biden and his running mate, Kamala Harris, said in a statement that their hearts are “broken” by Wallace’s family.
But they also asked protesters to protest peacefully.
“No amount of anger at the many real injustices in our society is an excuse for violence,” they said.
“To plunder is not to protest, it is a crime,” added Biden and Harris.
According to local media, two agents opened fire on Wallace at around 4 pm Monday in the West Philadelphia neighborhood after he refused to drop a knife while his mother tried to contain him.
A video posted on social media shows Wallace pushing his mother and then walking towards the police.
“Put the knife down,” shouts one of the policemen in the video, who fends off the images when the policemen shoot.
Wallace’s father, also called Walter Wallace, said his son appears to have received 10 shots, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
He said the victim had psychological problems and was under treatment. “Why didn’t they use a Taser?”, He asked, referring to an electric gun.
“His mother was trying to calm the situation,” he added.
Outlaw started an investigation and said the video “raises a lot of questions”.
Last week, a police officer from Waukean, north of Chicago, killed a 19-year-old man by opening fire on his vehicle. The young man’s companion was injured.
“When will it end, United States?” Asked attorney Ben Crumps on Tuesday.
“How many more blacks have to die from police brutality, excessive force, prejudice, systematic racism or deliberate indifference?”
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