Dozens of teenagers were seen looting stores in Philadelphia following protests over the dismissal of charges against the cop who fatally shot 27-year-old Eddie Irizarry.
As reported by the Associated Press, groups of masked teenagers stole from various stores including Foot Locker, Lululemon, and Apple on Tuesday, Sept. 26. Authorities said that they arrested somewhere between 15 to 20 people, although there were believed to have been as many as 100 people robbing the stores in flash mob fashion.
The looting came following protests in Philly over the dismissal of charges against officer Mark Dial, who was initially charged with murder, voluntary manslaughter, and various other counts in connection with the Aug. 14 shooting of Eddie Irizarry through a rolled-up car window. Acting Police Commissioner John Standford addressed the looting and said he did not think the individuals were connected with the protests. "This had nothing to do with the protests. What we had tonight was a bunch of criminal opportunists," Stanford said. "These were not protesters, these were criminals."
Wendy's security guard Hakeem Russell, who witnessed some of the chaos on Tuesday, told NBC Philadelphia, "A couple a kids decided they wanted to take full advantage of the unjust shooting that's happened. It's definitely been unrest around here since the verdict."
"Thank you to @PhillyPolice for their swift response to disperse crowds and make necessary arrests related to last night’s incidents," wrote Philly mayor Jim Kenney in a tweet. "This was a sickening display of opportunistic criminal activity, and we will not stand for it."
As CNN reported, Philadelphia municipal court judge Wendy L. Pew dismissed the charges against Dial earlier on Tuesday. Police initially asserted that Irizarry "lunged at the officers" outside of his vehicle, however, police body camera footage showed that his windows were rolled down. Dial's police partner testified in court and said he shouted "knife" and "gun" during the approach to Irizarry's vehicle.
“I feel everybody is upset, and sad about it,” said Irizarry's sister Maria. "There’s a lot of evidence. They say that it is a lack of evidence, which there is not.”
His aunt, Zoraida Garcia, added, "What more evidence do you want? You can see the video; the video was played in the court. The judge has seen the video. For her to drop all charges, she shouldn’t even be a judge.”
Per CBS News, protesters gathered outside of Philadelphia's City Hall following the verdict and demanded justice for Irizarry.