A South Philadelphia rally that saw demonstrators holding signs that read “White Women’s Lives Matter” and “We Will Not Allow You to Terrorize Our Neighborhood” in response to alleged attacks by a group of black women in the neighborhood was not racially motivated, according to the chief of staff for a city councilman who attended the event.
According to local ABC outlet WPVI, which gave the event supportive news coverage, 150 to 200 people including city councilman Mark Squilla gathered at Wolf and Fourth Streets to protest a slow police response to the alleged attacks, both of which were reportedly carried out against white people. One attendee woman shown on WPVI appears to read from a numbered list that contains the items “White lives matter” and “Eliminate the thugs.”
The racism of one key demonstrator apparently goes beyond unsubtle innuendo: Last week, we posted screenshots of racist Facebook postings from a since-deleted account that appears to have belonged to Jack Owens—who WPVI identified as the rally’s organizer. One shows a black man holding a sign that has been altered to read “Please help I’m blind and I think I might be a nigger”; another reads “Black Barbie, comes with: 3 kids, food stamps, and AIDS.”
Anne Kelley, Squilla’s chief of staff, told the website BillyPenn that Squilla attended the rally after an invitation from community members and a local police captain. Kelley also asserted that “the councilman feels the rally didn’t have racial undertones and was meant to improve on police and community relations,” BillyPenn’s Anna Orso wrote.
Little has been publicized about the attacks that started the rally. According to the alleged victims, the women randomly attacked a man and his 10-year-old son, then assaulted a woman inside her home after she tried to intervene. The alleged victims asked WPVI and Philadelphia’s NBC 10 to conceal their faces and names, and the alleged attackers have not been arrested. But according to a tipster in South Philadelphia, there are rumors that the real story is quite different—that a small, mutual conflict was “exaggerated for the news coverage” so that it would appear that black people were “terrorizing” the neighborhood’s white residents.
Not content to merely defend her boss, Anne Kelley also included a dig at a certain blogger in her statement:
“The funny thing is,” she said, “is that this happened last Tuesday, and it was four days later that it became news from a blogger who had a headline that didn’t really have much to do with the story.”
I requested a comment from Squilla’s office before posting the story on Friday. They have yet to respond.