Philadelphia Police have been prioritizing rioters over protecting citizens, with the police allegedly being told to stand down.

Philadelphia was one of the cities that was hit by Black Lives Matter protests and riots over this week, sparked off by the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis by a police officer.

National File’s Patrick Howley spoke to Zach Rehl, the organiser of a Neighbourhood Watch Group in Philadelphia, who described the situation as being totally chaotic.

“It’s really just been complete and utter chaos here, with rioting and looting. After the first couple of days, we expected it to taper off… it just got to the point where we had to… stop these people before they were coming for our homes,” Rehl told Howley.

Owen and Tom Pappert react to the looting and rioting and the death of an innocent puppy who was a victim to the Memphis riots.

However, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney and Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw denounced citizens that organised and armed themselves to protect their community from the rioters.

Mayor Kenney said that the city would not “tolerate” the neighbourhood protection groups any longer:

Last night a group of people in Fishtown took it upon themselves to make a show of protecting their neighbourhood. They picked up baseball bats and in turn, exemplified the deep divides within our community. Their actions were antagonistic and made a bad situation worse. We do not condone vigilantism. We understand the community’s desire to protect their neighbourhood, and if they want to do that in peace, we would allow it, regardless of their neighbourhood. But armed vigilantism will not be tolerated moving forward. I’m glad the police moved in to eventually disperse the group, but I’m not happy about how long it took. We tolerated it last night for too long, and that was a mistake.

Rehl noted that Kenney had issued a stand down order for the police, and had brought in the ironically named Commissioner Outlaw from Portland, where she was “notorious,” for telling police to stand down. “They’ve been told to stand down and basically let these rioters run rampant through the city, and speaking to some of the cops that I know, they’re overwhelmed… and being told they basically can’t do their job,” Rehl continued.

You can watch the full interview with Rehl below:

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