Protesters were trying to head inside Philadelphia City Hall as tensions escalated in that city, according to police scanner traffic and social media reports. Police said cars were on fire and they were prepared to start making arrests. They were calling for “any available wagons you have for arrest.” You can see videos from the scene throughout this article.
People at City Hall were “surrounding officers on all sides,” just before 7 p.m., police scanner traffic indicated. “We’re going to arrest anyone we can possibly arrest” who’s punching people, throwing things, or taking similar action, an officer said.
“The demonstrators exercising their first amendment rights at City Hall and the Art Museum did so peacefully,” Philadelphia police wrote. We appreciate their voice and their manner of expression. However, since that time, others have convened in Center City and are committing criminal acts, including vandalism. Those acts will not be tolerated, and we strongly encourage everyone to refrain from entering Center City. We will continue provide updates throughout the evening.”
Police also wrote: “*Traffic Advisory* Continue to avoid the Center City area: Specifically 1400 JFK, 11th and Vine, Broad and Arch and the Entire City Hall circle.” Police were clearing each floor of City Hall around 6:30 p.m.
A fire was being started on the west side of City Hall at Starbucks, according to the scanner, and police were entering City Hall to search it. “It’s on fire already,” an officer said. “The Starbucks is up in flames.”
A group of 30 people were “heading into City Hall,” an officer said at one point, according to police scanner traffic on May 30. “We need more people on the west side,” another officer said. “We’re just going to need more people,” at City Hall, said an officer. “We’re going to be taking prisoners to the northeast corner of City Hall,” said another officer.
Here’s what you need to know:
The Police Scanner Described Police Efforts to Contain the Crowd at City Hall
You can listen to the police scanner audio live here. It indicated that police were dealing with a large crowd gathering at Philly City Hall. Police were also dealing with looting, retail theft, and broken windows in other places in Philadelphia, according to the scanner. “All the stores are getting broken into,” a dispatcher said at one point about another location in the city. A large crowd armed with crowbars was reported in another area of the city as police fielded multiple issues at once.
Videos and photos showed Philadelphia City Hall swarmed with people and cars on fire outside of it. “Guys PLEASE pray for Philadelphia right now. There is a massive protest that has become a riot, and it’s getting bad. Police cars on fire, and City Hall is being invaded!! This is NOT honoring #GeorgeFlyod, and it needs to stop!!” one woman wrote on Twitter.
People on social media reported that windows were being smashed at City Hall and people reported hearing explosions.
At one point, an officer said on the scanner that the west side of City Hall was secure.
People wrote that the plumes of smoke near City Hall were coming from cars on fire, not the building. Police said on the scanner that they were working to extinguish car fires.