The Christopher Columbus statue in South Philly’s Marconi Plaza has been a site of tension over the last few weeks, including earlier this week, when armed white South Philadelphians provoked a brawl with Black Lives Matter protesters. The city yesterday announced plans to remove the statue. And in Fishtown, officials are investigating how police handled assaults against protesters during a June 1 demonstration. Over the Delaware River in New Jersey, Gov. Phil Murphy announced yesterday that people entering from certain states will have to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival because of rising coronavirus cases in those states.
Mayor Jim Kenney said yesterday that he will ask the Art Commission on July 22 to approve the removal of the Christopher Columbus statue in South Philly because “of ongoing public safety concerns about the presence of armed individuals at Marconi Plaza.” This statue in particular has become a point of conflict in recent weeks, as have other statues in other cities.
Tensions seemed to boil over Tuesday, when police arrested four people, including a South Philadelphia man depicted in a video repeatedly using a racial slur and punching a Black photographer in the jaw. He was charged with assault, ethnic intimidation, and other charges.
The events that unfolded on the night of June 1 in Fishtown are now being investigated by the District Attorney’s Office and the Police Department’s Internal Affairs Division. They’re looking into potential wrongdoing by Capt. William Fisher and his subordinates as protesters and “an agitated mob of white men, some with bats and metal pipes,” squared off near the city’s 26th District station, my colleagues Wendy Ruderman, William Bender, and Barbara Laker report.
That night, dozens of Fishtown residents called 911 or the 26th District directly to say they felt unsafe. Between 4 and 10 p.m., there were 36 reports of a “person with a weapon,” but no arrests were made on any charge within a half-mile of the district headquarters, according to records.
Investigators are now wading through photos and videos that surfaced on social media and were spread across the country. They’re part of what’s fueling a growing sense that policing in both Philadelphia and the nation is unequal and broken.
As coronavirus cases continue to rise in parts of the South and West, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, as well as the governors of New York and Connecticut, said visitors and residents from eight states will be required to quarantine for 14 days.
Those restrictions went into place at midnight. For now, the states covered in the new advisory are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, and Utah. Here’s more on what you need to know about why the restrictions are in place and how long they might last.
I’ve never seen Atlantic City from this view. Thanks for sharing, @elevated.angles.
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“If you pay attention, you can hear the sound of this weight in voices that sometimes crack while trying to conceal disappointment and frustration and righteous rage. ... In the daily struggle to breathe in a society still weighed down by centuries of racism, still expecting those most marginalized to carry the baggage and burden.” — writes columnist Helen Ubiñas about “the sound of oppression.”