In yet another story of an out of control mob being allowed to rampage without repercussions, a "flash mob" of more than 500 teenagers surrounded police in Philadelphia on Sunday, stomped on their vehicles, threw glass bottles at them and openly taunted them. Despite the violence and vandalism and the fact that the incident lasted a "few hours," not a single arrest was made.
According to CBS Philadelphia, the incident began around 6 p.m. Sunday night outside of the Lonnie Young Recreation Center in Germantown in Northwest Philadelphia. As the situation grew out of control later in the evening, officers were told by their commanders to stand down so as not to "escalate the situation":
Police say it all began a little bit after 6 p.m. When officers arrived, they found the large crowd on the sidewalk and in the street, as most were estimated to be between 12 and 17-years-old.
Officers said glass bottles were thrown at them. Publicly available videos on social media show the teens surrounding officers in their vehicles, hopping on top of cars and generally taunting police.
Police commanders made the decision not to make any arrests, as to not escalate the situation, and the crowd disbursed within in few hours.
Action News Philadelphia provides some more details, including that the flash mob was orchestrated online and that the "melee" began around 9:30 p.m.
"Police quickly responded and tried to control the crowd, even shutting down several businesses where some of the teens were hiding," the outlet reports. "Not long after police responded, the teens became violent, throwing bottles at officers."
Action News spoke to one Germantown resident, who tried to calm the situation down. "They're always talking about 'The police this,' and 'The police that,'" she said of the teens, which video footage indicates were largely minorities. "But what they did to the police they were so disrespectful — throwing bottles and everything. It was so disrespectful. I got emotional, me and my sister. I started crying. I'm trying to get the kids to go home."
Police say there were no reported injuries in the riot.
In response to the assault on officers, Philadelphia Police Captain Drew Techner issued a mild statement advising parents to be more "aware" of their kids' locations at night.
"Parents need to be aware that when they’re sending their juveniles out,” Techner said. "I know it’s nice to get the fresh air, and be out with their friends on a summer night. But parents have to be aware of what their kids are doing, who they are with, and what they’re getting involved in. They need to be home at a decent hour."
Techner said that the police closed the recreation center Sunday night out of concern that "the juveniles may re-gather in the same location that they started out."
Below is footage collected by CBS showing the out of control scene: