'We're better than this': Kenney meets with frustrated community members following night of looting, destruction in West Philadelphia

Tuesday, June 2, 2020
Community members frustrated following night of looting, destruction in West Philadelphia
Community members were upset and frustrated following a night of looting, destruction in West Philadelphia.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Emotions were high Monday morning after a night of looting and destruction in West Philadelphia.

"We called the police two dozen times yesterday. You could not send us one car within 12 hours," said Lucinda Hudson, with the Parkside Association of Philadelphia told Mayor Jim Kenney.

Kenney met with frustrated community members at the Park West Town Center after the weekend's violence and vandalism. A number of businesses in the area were destroyed.

"We're watching what we put together fall apart in a matter of minutes. We need some security now on this land. Now, not tomorrow, not later, but I need you to get somebody to protect us so they won't go back in it," said Kim Fuller of West Philadelphia.

Questions were also raised about the deployment of the National Guard.

Kenney said the National Guard cannot police, but their protection will help to free up city police resources to assist communities in their efforts to rebuild.

"I apologize for what happened yesterday. We just couldn't, we didn't know where to pull from without putting everybody else at risk, putting the officers at risk. (Because) as I said, if we took half off of 52 and Chestnut (streets) and brought them here, they would have gotten destroyed," Kenney said.

Chopper 6 over West Philly where looters damage police SUV on May 31, 2020.

Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw also visited the community to assess the damage and help clean up.

While some people were cleaning, others were still taking advance of broken into store fronts to steal.

The crimes in the area are too much to bear for those trying to make things better.

"They think they're doing the right thing and they're getting their point across, but they're really not. They are making it worse for black people. They're making to worse," said another woman.

Many of the people on the streets echoed a rhetoric heard nationwide: These acts of destruction are not part of the peaceful protests and message communities want to spread following the death of George Floyd.

"We're sorry this is going on, but Philadelphia, we are better than this. This is Brotherly Love and we will come back. I have faith in our lord above," said Stacey Rivera of West Philadelphia.