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Sunday, March 26, 2023
In Philadelphia, It Turns Out That Rioting Can Be Fun and Profitable
The city of Philadelphia has agreed to pay the staggering sum of $9.25 million to about 200 rioters because they were teargassed and struck with rubber bullets.
The rioting is entirely incidental to the fact that the people throwing rocks at police, breaking store windows, and assaulting innocent people were stung with rubber bullets and experienced tears from being gassed with an irritant.
That’s not all. The city is also ordered to pay $500,000 to a fund that will provide counseling to victims of police violence and offer community-led programming.
This has nothing to do with the George Floyd riots that convulsed the city on May 31-June 1 in 2020. This is apparently a downpayment on slavery reparations, according to Mayor Jim Kenney.
“While this is just one step in the direction toward reconciliation, we hope this settlement will provide some healing from the harm experienced by people in their neighborhoods in West Philadelphia and during demonstrations on I-676 in 2020,” Kenney said.
Philadelphia has Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw, who is far more concerned about “First Amendment Rights” than in protecting persons and property.
“Along with city, state, and community stakeholders, we will continue to work non-stop towards improving what we as police do to protect the first amendment rights of protesters, keep our communities and officers safe, and to ultimately prove that we are committed to a higher standard,” the commissioner said.
Is this the kind of “First Amendment” speech Commissioner Outlaw is talking about?
On Sunday in Philadelphia, at least 91 people were arrested for code violations, one person for assault on police, one person for propulsion of missiles, one person for rioting, one person for vandalism and 43 people for looting and burglary.
A citywide curfew went into effect at 6 p.m., with SEPTA shutting down all services.
In West Philadelphia Sunday, people broke the windshields of various police vehicles, setting one on fire near the intersection of 52nd and Market streets. Firefighters also responded to a building fire near 52nd and Walnut streets, the same area where stores were looted, including a Foot Locker.
This huge settlement makes it clear that the people of Philadelphia will now have the First Amendment freedom to loot, commit arson, assault police officers, and make mayhem in the streets.
And if anyone tries to stop them using non-lethal means like tear gas or rubber bullets, the city will be forced to pay up.
The lawsuits focused on two incidents: the mass teargassing of protesters on I-676 on June 1, 2020, and the police use of military-style weaponry on demonstrators and neighborhood residents while attempting to curb looting and violence along the 52nd Street corridor in West Philadelphia, a historically Black neighborhood.
Plaintiffs described rashes, pain, and difficulty breathing due to exposure to the noxious chemicals, with some requiring hospitalization and many others suffering mental trauma.
Nine million dollars for a rash? Incredible.
This wasn’t police wading into crowds of protesters swinging nightsticks. And it’s not like the protesters weren’t warned they were going to be teargassed and dispersed. If they didn’t want to be teargassed, why didn’t they leave?
At least five police officers were injured on May 31, 2020, after being struck by rocks, bricks, and Molotov cocktails. Why have police respond to a riot at all if no one is going to back their actions against those who can’t protest peacefully?