Seven state lawmakers say the Delaware County District Attorney should investigate after a group was seen on video hurling racial slurs and shoving Black Lives Matter protesters in Ridley Township on Aug. 1.
Throughout the protest, a group of counterprotesters - some toting Trump 2020, 'Thin Blue Line' and Confederate flags - shoved demonstrators, revved motorcycle and truck engines to drown out speeches, and hurled racial slurs and other expletives, according to the lawmakers, organizers, and videos from the Delaware County Daily Times.
"Black Lives Matter protesters have reported being endangered by cars and motorcycles that swerved into their path, being physically assaulted, and being threatened with violent and racially intimidating language," the Democratic legislators' letter says. "Coverage by the Delaware County Daily Times also reported that counter-protesters repeatedly punched a journalist’s phone out of her hands while she tried to do her job."
Activist group Delco Resists had planned a peaceful march to stand with the Black community and show Delco residents that racism would not be tolerated. The plan was to hear from residents about injustices they'd faced and seek solutions "as we continue our quest for true justice and true equity," their Facebook event page reads.
According to the lawmakers, the protest organizers notified Ridley Township Police after seeing social media postings from counterprotesters that mentioned showing up with weapons. Videos showed a line of police officers separating the two sides during a confrontation.
Activists and leaders held a press conference (video embedded above) Friday to discuss the peaceful protest.
State Sen. Anthony Williams signed the letter and appeared at the press conference. There, he called the counterprotest and confrontation not only "a disgrace to this town that misrepresents many people who live here" but a "disgrace to this state and a disgrace to this nation."
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"I'm a 63-year-old Black man who grew up during the civil rights movement, and I have not seen that kind of activity since the South," he said. "When people came out clearly not to protect property, not to maintain integrity, but simply to intimidate and violate one's God-given and Constitutional rights to express their opinion about activities in this country."
"The videos clearly show people surrounding individuals, saying all sorts of racial expletives, talking about physically harming them, while carrying an American flag or a Confederate flag," Williams said.
Conversations about the protest have also focused on the presence of an Interboro School District board member who was seen on video with the counterprotesters.
Protesters say Board treasurer Christine Alonso shouted racial slurs toward them. A Change.org petition and fellow board member have called for Alonso to resign.
"I will always speak out against that idea," Alonso wrote. I never saw a Confederate flag that day. I have never held that flag in my life. Anyone who says differently is an outright liar. I additionally did not say anything at any time that could be interpreted as being racist."
A spokesperson for Delco DA Jack Stollsteimer could not immediately be reached for comment after business hours Friday.