Protesters gather outside Philadelphia police headquarters as citywide looting, riots continue
PHILADELPHIA - A large group of protesters have gathered outside Philadelphia police headquarters in Center City as rioting and looting continue in other parts of the city.
The group has remained peaceful to this point. A fence and line of officers are protecting the front entrance of the building. Demonstraters have brought homemade signs and some are leading chants.
The National Guard is expected to arrive in Philadelphia Sunday night, officials announced during a press conference.
“The Pennsylvania National Guard is ready to provide safety and protection to our communities,” said Maj. Gen. Anthony Carrelli, Adjutant General of Pennsylvania. “Our troops are trained to protect life, preserve property and ensure people’s right to peacefully demonstrate.”
Protestors kicked off Sunday's demonstrations by gathering in front of City Hall for a peace rally advocating change to current national policies that don't actively denounce and officially restrict police brutality.
Organizers invited the public to join them on the south side of City Hall near the Octavius Catto statue to share their grief and demand justice for the killing of George Floyd.
"Philadelphians are mourning and are traumatized," event organizers stated. "Our citizens need words of encouragement and assurance that leaders will fight for the humanity of our residents."
In response to the riots and violence, city officials including Mayor Kenney and Commissioner Outlaw openly addressed citizens Sunday afternoon.
FULL COVERAGE: DEATH OF GEORGE FLOYD
Elsewhere in the city, rioting and looting continued to run rampant. Looters ransacked businesses in Kensington and Port Richmond, and sometimes even fought with each other over the stolen merchandise.
In West Philadelphia, several police cruisers were vandalized and set on fire. Looters broke into a corner drug store and a discount items shop on 52nd Street.
Protests on Saturday began peacefully with activists kneeling in front of City Hall to honor the life of the late George Floyd, tension later erupted and resulted in extensive rioting.
Unprecedented violence emerged and disrupted the peaceful nature of the Justice for George Floyd protest with looting, fires, injuries, and arrests marring the day.
In an effort to reestablish peace and order, Mayor Jim Kenney announced a mandatory, city-wide curfew set to resume at 8 p.m. before night falls over the city again. It will remain in effect until 6 a.m. Monday.
“The peaceful protests earlier were touching showings of our collective grief. The anger being displayed now cannot continue. Please have respect and dignity for each other and return home,” Kenney stated.
Philadelphia Police were able to release more conclusive information detailing the arrests and injuries that were reported during Saturday's subsequent riots.
Listed in the official update, police recorded nine Code Violation Notices, one Assault on Police, three Firearms Violations, one theft and 43 Looting/Burglary incidents, and 52 Curfew citations.
Fifteen police officers injured with one officer admitted to the hospital with a broken arm broken ribs after he was struck by an SUV.
It has been less than one full week since George Floyd's violent death on May 25, which has sparked a nationwide movement in response to the viral footage of the police brutality that arguably led to Floyd's death.
Impassioned citizens have since taken to the streets in Minneapolis, where the incident originated, and dozens of other US cities nationwide in a show of solidarity to demand justice.
The full report from the Hennepin County Medical Examiner remains pending, but preliminary findings from George Floyd’s autopsy revealed he likely died from a combination of underlying health conditions.
Any potential intoxicants in his system and being restrained by police were also attributed in the preliminary medically forensic investigation into the cause of his death, according to the charges. There was no physical evidence that he died of asphyxia of strangulation.
“Police are trained that this type of restraint with a subject in a prone position is inherently dangerous,” the charges say.
Floyd's underlying health conditions included coronary artery disease and hypertensive heart disease.
Ex-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was formally charged Friday in the death of George Floyd, but many citizens say that the other officers involved need to be arrested and that Floyd's death deserves meaningful change to policing practices in the United States.
Chauvin was seen in a video kneeling on George Floyd’s neck as Floyd repeatedly says “I can’t breathe.” The officer continued to press his knee onto Floyd’s neck even after he lost consciousness. None of the other officers at the scene attempted to check on Floyd until after the ambulance arrived, despite bystanders’ pleas.
So far, he has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.
Stay with FOX29.com as the rally begins and for updates on the latest local and breaking news.
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