Thanks to the work of two legendary leftist activist organizations and a Philadelphia law firm that is venerated within the ranks of the Democrat Party, $9.25 million was awarded to 343 Plaintiffs who claim they sustained “physical and emotional” damages in 2020 while engaging in peaceful George Floyd protests.
Also under the agreement, $500,000-$600,000 will be provided to the Bread & Roses Community Fund, a Socialist Feminist ‘equity’ based organization, for free mental health counseling for West Philadelphia residents as a result of perceived police abuses during the riots.
The City of Philadelphia was under no obligation to admit any wrongdoing as the suit progressed through the courts: that is to say, the city maintains that police actions during those riots were more justified in controlling the burning of squad cars, the destruction of a sizeable part of Center City near Rittenhouse Square, the blowing up of multiple ATM machines, and the destruction of businesses in Port Richmond along Aramingo Avenue, all of which necessitated a military-like response.
The 2020 Floyd rioters held Philadelphia hostage for a number of weeks, necessitating nightly curfews and terrorizing neighbors who feared that roving bands of anarchists would begin to torch private residences.
The police, if anything, exercised great restraint in controlling the rioters. In some instances, rioters chased police, turned over their squad cars and set them on fire.
Despite this reality, two other leftwing activist lawyers had a hand in the settlement.
Paul Hetznecker, known throughout the city as a radical lawyer who represented masked bandanna-wearing rioters who blocked an entrance to an interstate highway during the 2000 Republican National Convention (action by police at that time resulted in 4 police injuries and damage to at least 20 patrol cars), and attorney Michael Coard, famous in activist circles for his long dreadlocks, spoke to news outlets after the $9.25 million verdict.
“The First Amendment is sacrosanct,” Coard said:
It is not to be praised one day as this glorious document and then used like a piece of toilet paper the next day even if the city and police think that peaceful protesting is a shitty way to petition your government. What happened here is blatant, obvious and egregious. There should not only be civil liabilities but also more criminal prosecutions.
Yes, Mr. Coard, what happened in the city in 2020 was blatant, obvious and egregious. There should be criminal prosecutions, like the federal charges leveled against Anthony Smith in 2020 for torching a police car.
Now activist Smith will receive thousands of dollars to soothe his emotional healing.
Such twisted pretzel logic has become normal in this city of hyper-wokeness and unrelenting activist guile.
CBS Philly, for instance, pinpointed activist Smith as one of the people who helped topple the Frank Rizzo statue that used to stand in front of the Municipal Services Building near City Hall.
Philadelphia Magazine, in a rush to be radical chic and relevant, named Smith as one of the city’s most Influential citizens. Torch a patrol car and topple a statue and you become an instant Philly celebrity.
The Legal Defense Fund, one of the activist organizations involved in the lawsuit, announced that the city will end its participation in a federal program that arms state and local law enforcement with military-style weapons.
Of course, the riots that held Philadelphia captive in 2020 were very much like a war. I recall walking throughout my neighborhood then and hearing explosions in the distance, or seeing flashes of light from homemade bombs used to destroy fast food outlets in the city’s Port Richmond neighborhood.
What was this if not a war that demanded a military-like response? Stores were boarded up in anticipation of being destroyed or occupied, and businesses shut off their lights at night as police copters with multiple spotlights flew low in the sky searching for rioters.
The big contention in the lawsuit was the use of tear gas by police to control and corral Floyd protesters blocking traffic in I-676.
Blocking traffic on a major highway and attempting to stop the “circumlocution” of a city is tantamount to violence. The protesters on the highway would not move. They wanted to make a point about “equity”; to hell with Mr. and Mrs. Smith who may have been driving to the hospital with their child; to hell with people going or returning from work; to hell with a priest going to give someone the Last Rites.
The war for “equity” trumps all.
“We will make the way impassable. We will make you remember George Floyd. We will make everyone pay,” the protesters might as well have been saying.
CBS Philadelphia described the scene on I-676 this way:
On the same day, around the same time, Pennsylvania state troopers responded to the intersection of Broad and Vine Streets, just north of City Hall. Two state police patrol sport utility vehicles were placed at the on-ramp of Interstate-676 in an effort to prevent protesters from gaining access to the highway.
A group of individuals began attacking the vehicles and shattering windows. Authorities say equipment was stolen, including road flares, fire extinguishers, and “riot bags” containing additional state police-issued equipment.
“The pain and trauma caused by a legacy of systemic racism and police brutality against Black and Brown Philadelphians is immeasurable,” said Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney when the verdict of the lawsuit was announced. “While this is just one step in the direction toward reconciliation, we hope this settlement will provide some healing from the harm experienced by people in their neighborhoods in West Philadelphia and during demonstrations on I-676 in 2020.”
And yet not one word about the $21 million in damages the protesters/rioters cost the city of Philadelphia, and the fact that for weeks the city was an armed camp surrounded by the National Guard.