City police consider that the Derek Chauvin trial in Minneapolis could be the justification for civil unrest in Philadelphia. Although security officers say there is no known threat they are urging Port Richmond business owners to prepare for possible looting events.
Chauvin is standing trial in the death of George Floyd who died last May after Chauvin knelt on his neck for several minutes during an arrest.
According to CBS Philly, workers at Rotana Furniture in Port Richmond are now considering boarding up the store’s windows again and even removing some inventory in its showroom after 24th District police put out a warning about potential civil unrest. “To be prepared, you know, it may happen again,” said Farid Ajaj with Rotana Furniture.
To prepare for possible events of civil unrest, Philadelphia’s 24th District police held a meeting with more than 60 businesses last week, along with state Rep. Joe Hohenstein.
“This particular corridor, the Aramingo corridor, that is part of two very distinct neighborhoods racially, will not be a focal point of this type of activity again,” Hohenstein said.
Police prevention in the 24th District against civil unrest includes implementing a color-coded email alert system to notify businesses of potential unrest.
The color-coded alert system works as follows: Green means everything is OK, yellow warns that a significant disruption has been observed, and red alert indicates that a credible concern has materialized and may worsen.
Officials in Port Richmond say there are other measures in place to clamp down on any potential looting, like blocking of exits from I-95 to keep people from making a quick getaway.
Business owners on alert
Business owners are afraid the October events could be repeated. Security video displayed alleged looters walking out with whatever they could take. Police say looters ransacked more than 200 stores in just a few days in October, including Walmart, Target, and many others in Port Richmond. “We don’t hope it gets chaotic like the last time,” one employee said.
It happened after, police say, Walter Wallace Jr. was armed with a knife and walked toward police before he was fatally shot by two officers in West Philadelphia.
In an effort to avoid social unrest manifestations, stores are also being asked to hire private security together. But citywide, security plans have not yet been released and Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney is keeping tight-lipped.
“Certainly, we’re talking and planning and hopefully the case will go the way it should go,” Kenney said.