For the fourth night in a row, marchers in Philadelphia protested the deadly shootings of black men by police in Louisiana and Minnesota. The march, hosted by Philly Coalition for REAL Justice, began at Mascher and Cambria streets at 6 p.m. Saturday and ended at the city’s 24th and 25th police district building on 3901 Whitaker Avenue where they continued to protest late Saturday night.
“Police Terrorism is a daily reality in our communities,” an organizer for the march wrote on Facebook. “In the last three days, two black men (Alton Sterling and Philando Castile) were murdered at the hand of the police. In Philadelphia, the police consistently terrorize the Black and Brown community through stop and frisk, beatings, threats, and state sponsored executions.”
The protest was one of many that have occurred nationwide in response to the police shootings of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Philando Castile in St. Paul, Minnesota as well as the murder of five police officers in a sniper attack in Dallas, Texas.
Towards the end of the protest, marchers yelled at officers standing outside the district building, referring to them as pigs and repeatedly chanting, “F*** the police.”
“The police kill people, they’re killing us and I think yelling at the police is a way to get out some of our aggression,” said Ariel Taylor, one of the protesters.
Supporters of police officers also showed up to the protest holding up signs.
“What happened in Dallas is disgraceful and I don’t want to go to any more funerals,” said Megan Diaz, the daughter of a police officer who was among the police supporters at Saturday night’s protest.
Around 10:30 p.m., protesters remained outside the 24th and 25th district building, blocking the intersection of Whitaker and Erie avenues. Police told NBC10 no one was arrested in connection to Saturday’s protest though they also said a teen spray painted, “F*** the police,” on a local business. Rather than arresting the teen, the officers told him to meet with the shop owner, police said. The teen then agreed to clean up the shop.
Police told NBC10 they understood that the protesters wanted a forum to be heard and didn’t believe arrests were helpful or necessary in regards to the situation. They also said officers who were at the protest did a good job not reacting to the comments from the protesters.
On Friday, an estimated crowd of 250 people marched in Center City to protest the deaths of Sterling and Castile while a different group marched in support of the slain Dallas police officers. The Lower Merion Police Department also said a woman and her son delivered a stack of pizzas to their officers Friday while another woman and her daughter brought them coffee and doughnuts Saturday.
During another march Wednesday, protesters blocked I-676 by holding hands and lying on the pavement which led to arrests. No arrests were made during Friday’s Philadelphia protests however.