Thousands of Black Lives Matter protesters went on looting sprees and police officers were assaulted in Philadelphia Tuesday night as anger flared over the officer-involved death of a black man.
Walter Wallace Jr., 27, was killed by police on Monday afternoon after he charged at the officers waving a knife and refused to drop it.
Protesters reportedly threw objects at a small group of police. At least four officers were injured after they were hit with rocks and other projectiles, leading to several arrests Tuesday night.
In West Philadelphia, while about 500 protesters marched, over a thousand looters descended on Castor and Aramingo avenues to decimate businesses in Port Richmond.
Local television station CBS3 footage showed chaotic scenes of looters ransacking a Footlocker shoe store, Five Below, T-Mobile and Walmart while police were observed swarming a Target store.
A Fox29 helicopter captured hundreds of looters exiting a Walmart carrying large boxes that appeared to be TVs and other electronics.
Footage from an ABC6 chopper showed hundreds of people looting a Footlocker and an Aaron’s, which sells furniture and electronics.
Looters were observed with several shoeboxes and one even dragged a mannequin in a parking lot. A U-haul van briefly appeared before pulling away.
Police commanders said the situation had “rapidly gone downhill” along Aramingo Avenue, describing it as a “total loss.”
Altercations broke out between demonstrators and police in riot gear along the 52nd Street commercial corridor and Chestnut and also outside the 18th Police District at 55th and Pine.
The Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management tweeted: “The Philadelphia Police Department is requesting that all residents in the 12, 16, 18, 19, 24, 25, and 26th Districts remain indoors except when necessary. These areas are experiencing widespread demonstrations that have turned violent with looting.”
The White House issued a statement just before 1 a.m. Wednesday saying the Trump Administration stands proudly with the police, and “stands ready, upon request, to deploy any and all Federal resources to end these riots.”
“The riots in Philadelphia are the most recent consequence of the Liberal Democrats’ war against the police. Law enforcement is an incredibly dangerous occupation, and thousands of officers have given their lives in the line of duty,” the statement from press secretary Kayleigh McEnany read.
All lethal force incidents must be fully investigated. The facts must be followed wherever they lead to ensure fair and just results. In America, we resolve conflicts through the courts and the justice system. We can never allow mob rule,” it concluded.
Philadelphia officials had attempted to prepare for a second night of unrest Tuesday, but were unable to stop the widespread looting and destruction of commercial property.
Extra officers were stationed along the business corridors in West Philadelphia and in other parts of the city.
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf’s office announced the deployment of several hundred National Guard troops to the city “to protect the right to peacefully assemble and protest while keeping people safe”. They were expected to arrive in Philadelphia within 24 to 48 hours.
Police arrested more than 90 people during the protests and unrest that began Monday and spread into the early morning hours of Tuesday, caused by violent confrontations with police.
Thirty police officers were injured, including one whose leg was broken when a truck mowed through a police line.