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Tense, hours-long protests erupted in West Philadelphia after police fatally shot a man

Tense, hours-long protests erupted in West Philadelphia after police fatally shot a man

by The Philadelphia Inquirer  |  Published on October 27, 2020

Police officers fatally shot a 27-year-old Black man armed with a knife during a confrontation Monday afternoon in West Philadelphia, an incident that quickly raised tensions in the neighborhood and sparked a standoff that lasted deep into the night.

Late Monday into early Tuesday, police struggled to respond to vandalism and looting along the commercial corridor of 52nd Street, an area that was the scene of clashes between police and protestors earlier this summer. At least one police vehicle was set on fire Monday night and destroyed, and several police officers were injured by bricks or other objects hurled from the crowd. One officer was hospitalized after getting run over by a speeding truck.

The protests came roughly four months after the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police sparked widespread demonstrations in Philadelphia and across the country and a national reckoning over racial injustice and police killings of Black people.

Officer run over by truck
A police officer was run over by a speeding black truck around 12:50 a.m. at 52nd and Walnut Streets and the incident was broadcast on a social-media livestream.

A large group of officers then formed a protective shield around their colleagues as they were hit by rocks.

A few minutes later police said they had stopped a truck that may have been the striking vehicle.

Calmer tone on 52nd Street as police largely regain control of corridor
Shortly after 12:30 a.m., more than five hours after protests first began in West Philly, police have largely regained control of the 52nd Street corridor.

The crowds of a few hundred from earlier in the night have mostly dispersed, while a couple dozen protesters still on the scene were engaging in conversations with police.

“Y’all brought a gun to knife fight,” one man said to cops blocking off 52nd and Spruce Streets.

Cops with shields blocked off Walnut Street, while police vans blocked off Pine Street.

In an attempt to regain control of the scene, more than a dozen cops on foot formed a line as they ran down 52nd Street chasing protesters away from the main thoroughfare. Many cops carried batons in hand.

The crowds along 52nd near Walnut and Locust Streets largely dispersed.

Fires, fireworks break out on a crowded 52nd Street
Tensions escalated into the night as protesters continued to march on 52nd Street and the scene turned disorderly.

A cop car was set ablaze at 52nd and Market, while two dumpsters were set on fire at 52nd and Walnut.

One group smashed in the windows of a backhoe parked on 52nd Street in an attempt to steal the large construction equipment. Fireworks broke out over a dumpster that had been set ablaze.

As cops struggled to control the situation, police vans sped through the crowds.

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