The non-profit crime prevention network, founded by Curtis Sliwa in New York City in the 1970s, has already deployed 4,000 volunteers to other parts of the nation, such as Washington, D.C., Denver, Portland, Chicago, Tampa, Baltimore and Cleveland, in addition to the Big Apple.
Sliwa told Fox News on Thursday plans are now in place to deploy even more Guardian Angels to the Pennsylvania city, which was been home to both protests and riots, as well as ongoing election unrest in recent days.
“Our groups have been asked from New York and Baltimore and Washington to do that,” he said, when asked if he had any plans to deploy members to the City of Brotherly Love. “They’ve already had a series of demonstrations and there the vote count is so important and it’s important to make sure that nobody is interfering with that.”
As of Thursday, the Guardian Angels had not yet deployed any members, but said there are plans underway to do such by the weekend.
Sliwa said requests for Guardian Angels’ help came from members of the public in Philly, who are “at wit’s end because the demonstrations there are nonstop.”
Unrest began days before the election following the police-involved shooting death of Walter Wallace Jr. on Oct. 26. Wallace, a 27-year-old Black man who allegedly failed to comply with police officers’ orders to drop the knife he was holding. His parents called emergency responders because they said Wallace was experiencing a mental health episode.
The officers, who were identified as 25-year-old Sean Matarazzo, and Thomas Munz, 26, were not equipped with Tasers at the time. They can be heard in recently released body-camera footage shouting at Wallace to drop the knife. Officials estimated that the officers fired 14 bullets collectively. It wasn’t clear how many struck Wallace.
In the hours and days that followed, protesters and rioters took to the streets, where at times they looted stores and started fires.
Following Wallace’s shooting, more than 90 people were arrested and about 50 police officers injured in clashes with protesters and vandals, including the 1,000 or so who suddenly swarmed a shopping center the following night, breaking windows and stealing merchandise. That scene erupted on the other side of the city, miles from Wallace’s neighborhood, where protests were underway.
Protesters have also been active since Election Day, but demonstrations have largely been peaceful. Police on Thursday said no protest-related arrests were made and no major incidents were reported overnight. Police have not yet released any information regarding protest-related arrests from Thursday night into Friday.
Meanwhile, the FBI and PPD are investigating what has been reported as a thwarted plot against the Philadelphia Convention Center, where ballots are being counted.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.