Philadelphia officers, protesters exchange hugs during peaceful demonstrations

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Hundreds of people marched peacefully through the streets of Philadelphia on Tuesday, protesting the police treatment of African Americans.

Chopper 6 was high in the sky every step of the way as residents let their voices be heard on the ground on the fourth day of demonstrations.

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Massive, hours-long protest through Philadelphia remains peaceful. Bob Brooks has more on Action News at 11 p.m. on June 2, 2020.

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'It's bigger than just a riot and looting': Philly protesters let their voice be heard during peaceful demonstration on June 2, 2020.

"We want to control the narrative. It's bigger than just a riot and looting," one demonstrator told Action News. "Obviously that got everybody's attention, but it's bigger than that. The problem is the systematic racism that we see in this country and we want change. We want this country to value their minority citizens. We want this country to allow us to have a voice and speak passionately about these things."

In the crowd was Alannah Atkins.

On Monday, she was struck by a rubber pellet in the face while protesting.

But she's not upset. She plans to change the future.

"I also wanna be a cop when I get older. I'll go to the academy and graduate from there and then I change the system and make a difference," said Atkins.

Andrew Lochbihler brought up this suggestion for future marches.

He said, "Philadelphia police you need to get loudspeakers and communicate. The crowd wants to communicate with you."

The protests continued into much of the night without any issues.

In Philadelphia's Fishtown section, officers could be seen hugging and kneeling with demonstrators.

The calming moment was the same section of the city where on Monday night a group of residents could be seen armed with bats and shovels.

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Chopper 6: Philadelphia officers seen hugging demonstrators in Fishtown on June 2, 2020.

READ MORE: Philadelphia mayor, police commissioner condemn 'vigilante justice'

"It was a deterrent and I know the people who had the bats but it was just a deterrent no one was trying to hurt anyone here," one man told Action News.

Protesters - like others across the country, are marching in the memory of George Floyd, a black man who was pinned by a Minneapolis officer who put his knee on the handcuffed man's neck. Floyd died while in police custody.

Manslaughter and third-degree murder charges have been filed against Derek Chauvin, the officer who prosecutors say held his knee on Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes.

Chauvin and the other three officers at the scene have been fired. The Department of Justice is investigating.

Minnesota's Department of Human Rights is launching an investigation into the Minneapolis Police Department after filing a civil rights charge related to Floyd's death, Gov. Tim Walz announced Tuesday.

The investigation will examine the "policies, procedures, and practices over the past 10 years" to determine if the police department "has engaged in systemic discriminatory practices towards people of color," a statement said.

If so, the investigation will work to "ensure any such practices are stopped," the statement said.

Walz called this investigation "only one of many steps to come in our effort to restore trust with those in the community who have been unseen and unheard for far too long."


A mandatory curfew was again in effect for the City of Philadelphia from 8:30 p.m. Tuesday.

The curfew went into effect a little later than past nights due to the Pennsylvania Primary Election. The curfew ended at 6 a.m. Wednesday, June 3.

City officials instituted a citywide curfew due to the looting and vandalism that erupted over the past few days following peaceful protests over the death of George Floyd while in police custody.


Officials closed some streets in Center City on Monday. The closure ran from Market Street to Walnut Street, from the Delaware River to the Schuylkill River.

The Ben Franklin Bridge was briefly closed to vehicle and pedestrian traffic but has since reopened.


During a news conference on Tuesday afternoon, Mayor Jim Kenney urged Philadelphians to support one another.

"Let's keep each other safe while continuing to support each other through our grief," he said.
He denounced reports of vigilantism, including the group in Fishtown.

"We do not condone vigilantism...we will not tolerate it moving forward," he said.

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw echoed that sentiment.

"We fully uphold everyone's right to peacefully protest...we will not tolerate acts of violence," she said.

She said that Monday's deployment of tear gas by police on a group of protesters who blocked the Vine Expressway is being investigated.

In total, 692 people have been arrested and 25 officers have been injured.
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