PHILADELPHIA — As the city’s updated 6 p.m. curfew went into effect Sunday, Mayor Jim Kenney announced that all city operations would be closed Monday except for public safety.
“Go home, stay home and stay safe,” he said.
Officials said that the latest violence and destruction in Philadelphia over Monday’s death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police was hurting small businesses and communities of color. They insisted that those negative actions would not result in justice for anyone.
“We have to stop this senseless violence and looting,” said community activist Darryl Shuler during a city briefing. “I’m begging y’all. We understand what is going on … this isn’t going to solve anything.”
Fellow activist Darnell Jones agreed.
“I understand. We have to use this passion and use it in a constructive way.” He suggested that everyone put their energy into voting during Tuesday’s primary.
“We have a system to address those things, Jones said. ”The dialogue has been broken … but the mayor extended his hand and we have responded.”
Also, on hand for the Sunday evening briefing was U.S. Rep. Dwight Evans, who echoed the message of peace.
“We recognize the outrage. We recognize that things need to be done,” he said. But he appealed to stop the violence and destruction because it will leave many people without their jobs and small businesses.
As the officials informed the public that city operations would be shut down except for public safety, there were other areas around the city being looted.
Managing Director Brian Abernathy said that the 52nd Street business corridor was is an “active situation” and that downtown Center City was getting crowded in spite of a 6 p.m. curfew. He said that there was also quadruple shooting Sunday that prevented Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw from attending the briefing.
In response to a question about police inaction during Saturday’s destruction, Abernathy said, “Our officers did their best but they were clearly outnumbered….by no means was enforcement lax.” He added that the National Guard joining the police tonight.