A citywide curfew in Philadelphia Friday night is planned as authorities brace for more possible unrest just before Halloween, following the announcement that video and 911 audio connected to the police shooting death of a Black man will be released next week.
The curfew goes into effect at 9 p.m. Friday and ends at 6 a.m. Saturday, the city said. Workers traveling to and from work are exempt, and restaurant and grocery stores may operate delivery services beyond 9 p.m.
“We felt that with the tension, tonight being mischief night, we wanted to try to get as many people indoors as possible,” Mayor Jim Kenney said during a virtual news conference.”
Mischief night is traditionally the night before Halloween characterized by some bad behavior and pranks.
No decision was made on whether to impose a curfew throughout the weekend, Kenney said. The city’s last curfew was Wednesday night.
The Pennsylvania National Guard arrived in the city Friday to assist local law enforcement and help protect property impacted by widespread looting. The deployment will be “day-by day,” Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel said.
Thiel declined to reveal how many Guard members were in the city.
Since Monday, 214 people have been arrested, including two on suspicion of burglary and assault on police, the city said Friday. There have been 443 looting incidents, along with 22 ATM explosions and damage to 18 police vehicles, according to police figures.
City leaders requested the Guard’s presence in response to unrest over the police killing of Walter Wallace Jr. Wallace was shot Monday by two officers after he charged at them with a knife, police said. Neither officer had a Taser.
The incident prompted protests and widespread looting of businesses and vandalism. City leaders are in talks to outfit officers with Tasers, officials said.
“We’re placing a lot of trust in a Taser,” Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said Friday when asked what she would have done if confronted by someone with a knife. “I think that we could be discussing less lethal alternatives.”
City leaders also announced that police body camera footage and 911 recordings connected to Wallace’s death will be released Wednesday at the close of business. The decision was made with the approval from the Wallace family and city officials.
“Philadelphians are experiencing an immense amount of pain, and significant unrest persists throughout the entire city,” a joint statement from the Wallace family, Kenney, Outlaw and District Attorney Larry Krasner reads. “The collective hope of our local government and the Wallace family is that releasing the recordings on November 4 will provide enough time to calm tensions and for the recordings to be released in the most constructive manner possible.”
Kenney said the decision to release the footage and recordings Wednesday is not related to Tuesday’s election. Officials declined to comment on the release beyond the joint statement.
Outlaw said an officer captured on video allegedly striking an SUV and beating a woman while her child was in the backseat has been placed on restricted duty pending an internal investigation.
The video was captured Tuesday morning amid protests and clashes between police and demonstrators.