Reacting to protests nationwide that have criticized police after high-profile killings of African Americans, hundreds of people rallied Friday night at a major Northeast Philadelphia intersection to show their support for the police.
They gathered at the junction of Frankford, Cottman, and Ryan Avenues - a popular location for street celebrations when Philadelphia sports teams win titles - and loudly endorsed the city's Police Department.
Some waved signs that read "Blue Lives Matter," a counter to the protest slogan of "Black Lives Matter" that followed outrage over the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and Eric Garner in Staten Island, N.Y. In both cases, grand juries declined to bring charges against the white officers involved.
"They're protecting us. They're risking their lives every day," said Tom Conroy, 63, of Holmesburg, who held one of the "Blue Lives Matter" signs.
Daryle Lamont Jenkins, 46, of South Philadelphia, watched the demonstration but did not participate.
"Given the climate that brings this rally here," Jenkins said, "I find it a little disturbing that I'm the only black person here that's not on the job."
Radio talk-show host Dom Giordano addressed the crowd, which numbered more than 400 at its peak, saying the rally was long overdue.
"Mayor Nutter, where the hell are you?" Giordano asked. No member of City Council was present either, he said.
Giordano ridiculed the protesters, calling them "a bunch of spoiled brats."
Another speaker, Brian Tait, 41, of Mayfair, told those assembled that they were "the silent majority."
Tait, whose father and brother were police officers, brought up the fatal shooting of Brandon Tate-Brown, a 26-year-old black man, by a Philadelphia police officer during a traffic stop Monday in the 6600 block of Frankford Avenue.
He called the media one-sided in its coverage of the shooting and said the officers at the scene were not allowed to speak publicly, so the rally was doing that for them.
"We don't block streets," Tait said, "and we don't loot."
Though the rally was noisy - with drivers' honking their car horns almost continually as they passed - no arrests were reported.