Pennsylvania governor Tom Wolf ordered National Guardsmen to Philadelphia on Tuesday, following a night of riots that left 30 police officers injured and various businesses vandalized.
The riots began after police shot and killed 27-year-old Walter Wallace Jr., an African American man, who officers said approached them with a knife. Video of the incident showed Wallace walking towards officers with his mother attempting to hold him back, and when the camera points away police fire several shots.
“The Pennsylvania National Guard is mobilizing several hundred members…[to] assist local agencies in protecting life, property and the right to peacefully assemble and protest,” National Guard spokesman Lt. Col. Keith Hickox said in a statement. “We are able to conduct operations in support of civil authorities to enhance local law enforcement’s ability to provide continued public safety and critical infrastructure security.”
Rioters threw bricks and rocks at police officers on Monday night, and a driver intentionally ran over a 56-year-old sergeant, who suffered a broken leg and other injuries. Meanwhile, looters targeted several Rite Aid branches as well as clothing and food stores. Officers arrested 91 rioters on Monday.
“For today and this evening, we anticipate the chance of additional incidents of civil unrest and, as such, we will be taking additional steps to ensure order,” Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said at a press conference on Monday.
American cities have seen instances of civil unrest since the death of George Floyd, an African American resident of Minneapolis who was killed during his arrest by police. Besides large cities including New York and Chicago, rioters have targeted smaller cities including Kenosha, Wis., looting and setting fire to businesses and fighting police.