Philadelphia Police Threaten Unicorn Riot Reporter After Vigilante Assault

Philadelphia, PA – On Saturday evening dozens of armed vigilantes gathered in Marconi Plaza in South Philadelphia near a Christopher Columbus statue, ostensibly to “protect it” from vandalism. Several of the men assaulted our reporter on the scene and slashed his bike tires. Philadelphia police then threatened our reporter with arrest for “inciting a riot.”

This video is the raw compilation of all of our available footage from the event.

Last Wednesday Unicorn Riot covered the toppling of a Columbus statue outside the Minnesota State Capitol, which came down during a wave of protests that have taken aim at symbols of reactionary politics and white supremacist iconography. A mural of controversial former Mayor and Police Commissioner Frank Rizzo was painted over a week ago not far from the site of tonight’s attack.

In recent weeks armed mobs of white men have gathered in Philly, a city with a long history of reactionary politics and racial tension. A similar armed group in Fishtown attracted international media attention.

At the Saturday evening gathering, the attendees appeared to be eager for a confrontation, waiting to attack anyone who might criticize or damage the statue. Some members of the group were openly carrying firearms and bats with others commenting that they had concealed carry firearms.  At least one of the men holding a gun appeared to have a military-style patch which read “Semper Tyranus,potentially in reference to John Wilkes Booth’s assassination of Abraham Lincoln.

Racist vigilantes gathering with bats and guns at the statue of Christopher Columbus at Columbus Square in South Philadelphia, some of them just assaulted our reporter

— Unicorn Riot (@UR_Ninja) June 14, 2020

More agitated white men with bats and sticks are continuing to arrive at Marconi Plaza outside the Columbus statue. Philly Police faced some backlash recently after they appeared to tolerate and endorse similar activity in Fishtown on the north end of the city recently.

— Unicorn Riot (@UR_Ninja) June 14, 2020

Captain Louis Campione of the Philadelphia Police Department barred our reporter, Chris Schiano, from continuing to report on scene, claiming that Chris was “inciting a riot“.

We are no longer able to document the ongoing, escalating Marconi Plaza South Philadelphia vigilante incident after @PhillyPolice ordered us to leave or be arrested. We were told we no longer had the right to document this event.

— Unicorn Riot (@UR_Ninja) June 14, 2020

In 2016 the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Capt. Louis Campione signed a memo instructing officers to perform unconstitutional searches. Minutes before Unicorn Riot was forced from the scene by Campione, the crowd cheered as a man unveiled a Trump 2020 flag.

Shortly before @PhillyPolice ordered us to cease our on-site reporting under threat of arrest, the crowd was cheering as a man with a Trump 2020 flag arrived.

Police were also shaking hands with some of the white vigilantes as this was happening.

— Unicorn Riot (@UR_Ninja) June 14, 2020

Going back over our footage and stills of this incident – we observed at least 2-3 open carried long rifles, and overheard that many present were concealed carrying.

Some showed up with improvised weapons, like this man who was standing alone with a golf club.

— Unicorn Riot (@UR_Ninja) June 14, 2020

After our reporter was forced from the scene, the crowd continued to grow as night fell in the poorly illuminated city park on Broad Street. Earlier in the day Unicorn Riot covered the massive protest march in the city calling to “Defund the Police” attended by thousands of people – view our thread of pics and video from that march below.

A huge crowd of protesters is currently marching around Philadelphia city hall.

This group gathered on North Broad earlier today before marching south and ending up here.

— Unicorn Riot (@UR_Ninja) June 13, 2020

Unicorn Riot's Coverage of Columbus Statue Protests:

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