After nearly a week of provocative acts and street protests in the wake of Donald Trump's election as president, Mayor Kenney on Monday sought to ratchet down the vitriol.
Speaking at a wrap-up ceremony at the University of Pennsylvania Museum for the just-concluded Philadelphia International Unity Cup soccer tournament, Kenney addressed recent events that have shaken the city, including racist graffiti and a violent flash mob incident in Center City over the weekend.
"I know right now that many Philadelphians are feeling anxious, angry, afraid, even hopeless. Others feel emboldened by hateful rhetoric to act out in destructive ways," the mayor said.
"But if we allow any of these feelings to guide our actions, then we are no better than what we claim to oppose.
"Calling someone by any type of slur, defacing a building, or participating in a flash mob does nothing to help preserve the values of diversity and inclusion that make Philadelphia strong," he said.
Kenney vowed that lawbreakers will be caught and punished.
The mayor also addressed the protesters who have marched in the streets daily against Trump's victory.
"Protest is valuable and important. We will always respect your right to do it. But it alone will not strengthen our city in this time of darkness," Kenney said.
"There are many productive ways that you can channel your feelings into productive actions that help build bridges and strengthen our communities," he said.
On Monday, police were still searching for as many as four teenagers suspected of "attacking people that were just randomly walking down the street" Saturday night.
Six people were hurt, including an off-duty police officer and his wife, in what some described as a "flash mob" attack.
Lt. John Stanford said authorities believe fewer than six youths are responsible.
He said the suspects are believed to have attended a concert for juveniles at a venue on the 1700 block of Walnut Street that began around 2 p.m. When the concert let out at 6 p.m., most of the youths left peacefully, but there was a small group that took off running and began attacking people, he said.
Two 16-year-old suspects were taken into custody at the scene, and police believe the remaining suspects are under 18 as well.
"Out of that group, there are less than a half-dozen that were involved in initiating these assaults," Stanford said. "It wasn't the entire group of kids that were out there. You have a select few that were involved in these attacks."