PHILADELPHIA (WTXF) - The Philadelphia Zoo says the juveniles who engaged with police Thursday were not selling water or raising money for a local football team. Instead—zoo officials on the phone with FOX 29 Monday—say they’re a group which has caused trouble in the past, including a recent rock throwing incident.
"Just trying to ascertain what prompted this incident whether we got reports kids were running into traffic," Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross said.
The video of a 16th District police officer arresting a 14-year-old has prompted debate and a police internal affairs investigation.
Zoo executives say noticing the group on zoo property Thursday, its security officers tried to “move them along.” They say “threatening remarks” were made to a security officer and eventually a 16th District police car was “flagged down” as officers drove by.
"Why do you need to call the police when it comes to black and brown children? These issues have to be addressed and we’ll address them in the meeting," Asa Khalif with Coalition 4 Black Lives said.
City activists say they’ve scheduled a meeting with zoo officials, including its CEO. They want the officer seen on tape off the street.
"We want they officer to obviously be trained or disciplined at this point off the street out of our communities," Khalif said.
The captain of the 16th. District, who also wants to meet with zoo officials, says the officer remains on the street while the internal affairs probe in underway.
Meanwhile, a water vendor arrested in the Thursday incident was back at it Monday.
"I was asking the police officers questions why would you use that kind of aggression against a 14-year-old?" Gregory Muhammad asked.