Police said that they have arrested more than a dozen people after looting occurred in several stores around Philadelphia, on Tuesday night. The mass looting took place after the conclusion of a peaceful protest against a judge’s decision to dismiss charges against a former city police officer. The police commissioner of Philadelphia said that it was his belief that the looters were not directly part of the protests and described them as those who took advantage of the protests to loot multiple stores.
In a late-night news conference on Tuesday, Commissioner John Stanford said, “This had nothing to do with the protests. What we had tonight was a bunch of criminal opportunists take advantage of a situation.”
On Tuesday, a large crowd assembled in Philadelphia’s Center City. The people had gathered to peacefully protest a judge’s decision of dismissing charges against former police officer Mark Dial. The Philadelphia officer fatally shot 27-year-old Eddie Irizarry on August 14. The protest ended around 7.30 p.m., according to Stanford.
Little later police began getting 911 calls that stores were getting broken in or looted. Officers arrested about 15 to 20 suspects. They are checking video footage to identify more looters.
Stanford also said that stores in the Center City area were initially targeted and then the looters moved “from location to location.” He mentioned that it appeared as if the looters came from different parts of the city in different vehicles and the investigation into these aspects was ongoing.
Although Stanford did not mention the names of the stores that were looted, he said that clothing and sneaker shops and high-end stores had been targeted. Other stores that were looted included pharmacies and wine and spirit stores.
Some videos posted online and obtained by various outlets suggest that Lululemon and Foot Locker stores were among those targeted.
Large and small retailers in Philadelphia have said that they are facing struggles due to reported looting that affects their livelihoods.
On Tuesday night Philadelphia City Police Commissioner John Stanford said, “We made arrests and we will continue to make arrests until we have all of the individuals or a number of the individuals, that have been responsible for what we’ve seen tonight in custody.”
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