Several hundred troops from the Pennsylvania National Guard have been mobilized in Philadelphia following a night of violent unrest over a fatal police shooting, as city officials predict another bout of rioting.
Governor Tom Wolf directed the state’s National Guard to deploy to assist local law enforcement “in protecting life, property and the right to peacefully assemble and protest,” public affairs officer Lieutenant Colonel Keith Hickox said in a statement, giving no specifics for the number of troops mobilized.
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The deployment comes after a chaotic night of protests and rioting in Philadelphia over the police shooting of Walter Wallace Jr., a 27-year-old black man officers claim was armed during the encounter. The ensuing unrest saw looting, vandalism – including a wave of ATM bombings – clashes with law enforcement that left dozens of officers injured and acts of arson around the city, which continued into Tuesday morning.
“We were hoping that we won’t have any repeat of what we’ve seen last night and we’re taking every precaution that we can,” Philadelphia’s Democratic Mayor Jim Kenney said after the Guard deployment was announced.
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While police commissioner Danielle Outlaw warned of “additional incidents of civil unrest” by Tuesday night, Hickox said the Guard troops would arrive in the city in the next 24 to 48 hours, suggesting the deployment may not arrive in time to preempt a second round of rioting.
How the tables have turned… Protestors chase a group of riot cops in Philadelphia pic.twitter.com/T23ldCNKMF
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