Residents: Port Richmond mob attacks racially motivated

PORT RICHMOND - September 14, 2011

Philadelphia Police officers were stationed in the 2500 block of Indiana to prevent any more trouble.

Mark Lavelle, a Youth Athletic League director, says on Friday night he was walking outside to his car when he noticed two white teen males being chase by a large group of African Americans and Puerto Ricans wielding pipes and baseball bats. He says he quickly told the two to run into his house for cover.

"Then I got into my house, I dead bolted my door. Two males proceeded to kick it while one held the door open and managed to get through, busted through my door, broke my lock, swung and hitting me with a pipe," Lavelle said.

Police arrived moments later making a number of arrests.

It turns out there had been a confrontation between white teens and blacks and Hispanics earlier in Campbell Square Park in the 2600 block of Allegheny.

Community Activist Mary Trombetta says they're chasing the flash mobs out of Center City and right into the neighborhoods.

"The audacity to bust into his house and hurt him in front of his family, it's just appalling to me," Trombetta said.

But early Sunday morning, there would be more trouble to come.

Resident Joe Pellegrino says his brother-in-law was attacked by a group of white teenagers who thought he was Puerto Rican.

"The next thing you know, he's getting attacked by brass knuckles, getting jumped, and they said, 'You're one of them Puerto Rican kids who tried to jump us the other day', he said, 'No, I'm not even Puerto Rican, I'm Greek,'" Pellegrino said.

Tonight, Lavelle, who was wearing a foot cast after injuring his leg in the scuffle, says the mother of one of the men who attacked him has threatened to come after him.

All this tension which seems to rear its ugly head every few years in Port Richmond prompted an emergency meeting Wednesday night of police and officials from the Human Relations Commission along with community leaders and State Representative John Taylor.

"It's something that none of us can take lightly, I think the community leaders are not taking it lightly and certainly the residents aren't," Taylor said.

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