PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — A curfew goes into effect in Philadelphia from 9 p.m. Wednesday night until 6a.m. Thursday in response to two nights of looting, set off after the police shooting of Walter Wallace Jr. At a briefing Wednesday afternoon, officials said the looting has nothing to do with protesting the shooting and, if it doesn't stop, the National Guard will be here Friday.
After the first night of protests turned violent, additional officers were on duty and deployed throughout the city. But, even so, Deputy Commissioner Mel Singleton said they did not expect 1,000 people to converge on a big box store in Port Richmond.
“We gathered the resources and got the necessary amount of officers to that location, but by that time, damage was done,” Singleton explained.
This sort of whack-a-mole game with looters comes at a cost, said Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw.
“It means that cold calls for service or calls that are prioritized as lower levels or not priority, it may take us quite some time to respond,” she said.
Thus, the request for extra resources from the National Guard, though Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel, who heads emergency management, said that's still flexible.
“If at any point, we see, as we would hope to see, this activity stop, we could roll it back,” Thiel said.
Police have arrested 170 people so far, and 53 officers have been injured, including one who is still hospitalized.
Mayor Kenney said this is not protest.
“Mr. Wallace's own family has repeatedly called on those causing chaos in our city to stop, stressing that what they're seeking is justice for their loved one, not destruction,” Kenney said.
Body camera footage, 911 call
Outlaw said they will release body camera footage to the public, as well as the 911 call. Leadership is also reviewing whether they need to make any changes to how they respond.
The release won’t be immediate because they want the family to have a chance to review it, she said.
“I have every intention on being transparent, I think the footage will speak for itself,” she said.
But Outlaw would not answer specific details, like how many times 911 was called that day or the history of calls.
“That is what the investigation will reveal: what was known to the officers at the time that they responded, what was dispatched, how that information was shared and how that information was utilized as it relates to the police response,” Outlaw explained.
She said they’re reviewing how officers are trained and how they respond.
“It’s a plethora of things, it’s not just how we respond to someone with a weapon, it’s how we respond to someone in crisis and that’s not just at the patrol level, but we also need to look at what we are dispatching, how we are dispatching, the types of questions we are asking, what questions are relayed,” she said.
Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5 President John McNesby also called for the release of the video.