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Hours after murder charges against a former Philadelphia police officer were dropped on Tuesday, large groups, mostly made up of teenagers, looted multiple stores in the city.
Police started receiving calls around 8 p.m. Tuesday night about a large crowd moving into Center City, the main dining and shopping scene in downtown Philadelphia, NBC 10 reported. The crowd eventually turned riotous, ransacking a Foot Locker, Lulumelon, and an Apple store, among other businesses, before at least 20 were arrested.
Video footage of the looting showed a large police presence outside of a Lulumelon as numerous people ran out of the store carrying stolen clothing. The footage also shows police detaining at least four looters on the ground outside of the store.
🚨#BREAKING: Large Crowds of people have started Riot and Loot multiple stores as Citywide Rapid Response has been Activated
Philadelphia Police have activated a citywide rapid response following large crowds of people gathering and rioting, and engaging… pic.twitter.com/ronKIax9rO
— R A W S A L E R T S (@rawsalerts) September 27, 2023
— Dixie (@OSiiNT) September 27, 2023
Another video recorded live and uploaded to social media shows dozens of people looting a liquor store as the person behind the camera says, “That’s what I’m talking about. Everybody must eat.”
Philadelphia continues to be in absolute chaos. pic.twitter.com/hgMphlu8c9
— Catch Up (@CatchUpFeed) September 27, 2023
The Philadelphia stores were looted after murder charges were dropped against former police officer Mark Dial for the fatal shooting of Eddie Irizarry, who was holding a knife by his right leg, during a traffic stop last month. Philadelphia Municipal Judge Wendy Pew dismissed all charges, including a murder count, against Dial, determining that the shooting was justified, according to NBC 10.
Leftist Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner vowed to appeal the judge’s decision.
“Special Investigations Unit prosecutors will be filing an appeal of this decision to the Court of Common Pleas by the end of today,” Krasner’s office said. “In keeping with our oath to seek justice, we will move to have all criminal charges, including Murder, reinstated against this defendant.”
Following the judge’s move to drop the charges against Dial, people initially gathered to peacefully protest the decision. Acting Police Commissioner John Stanford sought to distance the rioting that eventually broke out from the protests that took place earlier in the day.
“This had nothing to do with the protests. What we had tonight was a bunch of criminal opportunists,” Stanford said.
“These were not protesters, these were criminals,” he added.
Police said that over 100 juveniles and young adults were involved in the looting, and authorities are still trying to determine how many businesses were affected by the night of crime.
Retail thefts and carjackings have spiked in the “City of Brotherly Love” over the past year, according to police department data, Axios reported. Through August 6, car thefts were up 105%, and retail thefts rose 34% while overall property crime spiked 24% compared to the same period in 2022.