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PA gov. orders hundreds of National Guard troops to activate for riots in Philly

U.S. Soldiers with 1-137th Assault Helicopter Battalion, 28th Expeditionary Combat Aviation Brigade stand in formation. (Capt. Travis Mueller/U.S. Army)
October 27, 2020

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf ordered hundreds of the state’s National Guard troops to mobilize on Tuesday night to protect Philadelphia from riots.

“At the direction of Governor Wolf, and PEMA, the Pennsylvania National Guard is mobilizing several hundred members in support of the Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management and assist local agencies in protecting life, property and the right to peacefully assemble and protest,” PA National Guard spokesman Lt. Col. Keith Hickox said in a statement.

“Assisting civil authorities during times of need is one of our core missions in the National Guard and our Citizen Soldiers and Airmen are well-trained and well-prepared to assist our commonwealth and our communities in any way we can.  We are able to conduct operations in support of civil authorities to enhance local law enforcement’s ability to provide continued public safety and critical infrastructure security,” he added.

The Philadelphia Police Department is also increasing its strength in the city on what they expect to be the second night of violent riots following the death of Walter Wallace.

Wallace, 27, allegedly advanced on police officers while wielding a knife and ignored commands to drop it, prompting them to shoot him. He later died at the hospital from his wounds.

“For today and this evening, we anticipate the chance of additional incidents of civil unrest and, as such, we will be taking additional steps to ensure order,” Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said during a news conference on Tuesday.

“We were hoping that we won’t have any repeat of we’ve seen last night and we’re taking every precaution that we can,” Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney also said at the news conference.

On Monday night, what began as a civil protest erupted into a violent riot. One demonstrator used a pickup truck to “intentionally run over” a police officer standing in a line with other officers. Other demonstrators threw objects at officers.

A total of 30 officers were injured, and 91 demonstrators were arrested.

Eight patrol cars were also damaged during the riot, with one set on fire.