walter wallace jr.

National Guard Arrives at City Hall After Days of Unrest

Uniformed guardsmen were posted outside City Hall and other locations Friday, days after they were called into action to respond to unrest

NBC Universal, Inc.

Uniformed Pennsylvania National Guard troops rolled into Philadelphia on Friday and posted around the city, including outside City Hall. Gov. Tom Wolf mobilized the guard to move into the city earlier this week following looting and unrest after police shot and killed Walter Wallace Jr. Monday.

Earlier this week, Mayor Jim Kenney said the Guard was called in for "what's going on in the streets right now," adding that Wolf may have ordered them to standby for the election.

It was not immediately clear how long the Guard would be stationed in the city. At a Friday afternoon news conference, Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel, who is also the director of the city's Office of Emergency Management, said where the guard is stationed will be managed on a day-by-day basis.

SkyForce 10
This SkyForce 10 aerial image shows National Guard troops stationed outside City Hall Friday Oct. 30, 2020.

In the past, the Guard stationed in commercial corridors that had seen looting.

Thiel didn't reveal how many guard members were in Philly outside of saying it was fewer than when they were here during the spring's unrest of the police killing of George Floyd.

Wolf's office said Tuesday that the guard was mobilizing, or getting ready, to head to Philly. Guard members will help protect local property and supplement the Philadelphia Police, a Guard spokesman told NBC10.

Officials previously said that if the Guard were deployed, their primary role would be to station outside businesses. The National Guard was deployed this spring in business districts and other locations including the Municipal Services Building.

The day after the shooting and first protests Tuesday, Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said the department was “caught off guard” by unrest. But once the department realized there would be civil unrest “we immediately began to put resources in place” including opening an emergency command center, canceling days off and requesting aid from other law enforcement.

The unrest came as the city was making contingency plans in case of election-related unrest, Outlaw said Tuesday.

“We’re also planning for any pre, during and post unrest that may occur as it relates to the elections. So a lot of key people were already available and at the table.”

Contact Us