Lilac Philly

Statement on Marconi Park Attacks

By Lilac, June 15, 2020

White vigilantes in Marconi Plaza attack, injure peaceful South Philly residents

Contact: Lilac Media/Press Team

Dozens of police officers watch as racist crowd terrorizes a dozen activists, make no arrests of violent vigilantes

Philadelphia, Pa. — At approximately 9 p.m. Sunday night, a group of white vigilantes cornered over a dozen peaceful observers and activists after many hours of threats of physical and sexual violence from an angry mob, at the Christopher Columbus statue in Marconi Plaza. The vigilantes, claiming to defend the statue, hurled lit cigarettes and pushed peaceful observers into busy traffic at the intersection of Broad and Oregon. At least three people were pepper sprayed from within the crowd. Two activists were seriously injured and sent to the hospital.

Amanda M--, Michael C--, and David P-- were among those who were shoved into open traffic as the largely white crowd chanted racist epithets and made countless threats of more physical and sexual violence. One activist was shoved to the ground, and the mob started to kick them repeatedly until others helped them to safety. A LILAC activist of color, Ronald J--, 24, tried to break off the assault and was maced and punched in the face, resulting in a broken nose.

At no point did the nearly 40 police officers present intervene to prevent this mob violence. Video footage shows peaceful activists asking for aid and intervention and senior Philadelphia Police Department officers ignoring them.

The Marconi Plaza attack is the latest string of racially-motivated escalations orchestrated by white vigilante mobs in the Philly area in the past 15 days. In Fishtown and in South Philadelphia, unaccountable vigilantes have participated in assaults on journalists, property destruction, and uncurbed violence toward peaceful counter-protestors and bystanders. At a time of national reckoning with racial injustice and the use of excessive force by the police, Philly white vigilantes are using violence to defend racist monuments and terrorize residents from all walks of life. The Philadelphia police have proven over the last few weeks that they not only have no interest in protecting Philadelphians from these violent mobs, but will also aid and abet them whenever possible.

Though a constant and heavy presence at Marconi Plaza, the police took almost no action to stop or prevent beatings, at times agitating the peaceful crowd and laughing about the rampage. The only arrest made by the police was against a peaceful protestor staging a sit-in. This is unacceptable behavior from law enforcement, who are directly contradicting Mayor Jim Kenney and Police Chief Danielle Outlaw’s promises that the Philadelphia Police Department would protect First Amendment rights to protest and report.

We hereby denounce this terror campaign in multiracial, ethnically-diverse immigrant communities of Black, Latinx, Asian and Pacific Islander Philadelphians. We deserve to feel safe in our neighborhoods. South Philly belongs to all of us, and everyone has the right to contest Christopher Columbus’s part in the genocide of Indigenous people.

We hereby demand the police and Mayor Kenney immediately stop the senseless violence coming from armed and hostile white vigilantes posing real threats to the community with out of control violence.

We also demand Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner drop all charges against peaceful protestors and prosecute white vigilantes who have sparked and carried out mob violence against peaceful counter-protestors, bystanders, and journalists.

Mayor Jim Kenney and Chief Danielle Outlaw, we call on you to respond immediately to the threat of white vigilantes in Philadelphia. This is an urgent matter that calls for prompt action. Simply “being aware” is not enough. We will not rest as long as discrimination is still on full display on our streets, in our system, and among city leadership. We want proof that Philly white vigilantes are not above the law.

Links to Livestream Coverage:

  1. 7:50pm EST
  2. 8:55pm EST