A Black Lives Matter leader says that officials’ response to Philadelphia’s Super Bowl riots is a prime example of “white privilege.”
What were the riots all about?
Fans of the Philadelphia Eagles celebrated their team’s Super Bowl LII win on Sunday night by rioting in the streets. In many cases, the rioters destroyed public property.
The Eagles’ win against the New England Patriots was the team’s first Super Bowl win, but the celebrations quickly spiraled out of control and resulted in injuries and destruction of property.
“We have had several acts of vandalism where windows have been smashed, and some injuries have been reported around light poles that have been pulled down,” a spokesperson for the Philadelphia Police Department said in a statement. “We have one report of looting at a gas station. There have been no fatalities.”
Philadelphia Police Sgt. Brian Geer on Twitter wrote, “Still going strong in the EOC. But, if everyone could go home that would be great. We have to get some rest to start planning a parade in the morning.”
Still going strong in the EOC. But, if everyone could go home that would be great. We have to get some rest to start planning a parade in the morning. pic.twitter.com/tueubQ4yHF
— Brian Geer (@PPDBrianGeer) February 5, 2018
You can see photos and video footage depicting the riots here.
What did the BLM leader say?
Hawk Newsome, the president of Black Lives Matter New York, spoke with Newsweek‘s Chantal Da Silva for an article published on Monday, where he expressed his concerns over the way that officials handled the ensuing riots after Super Bowl LII.
“Somehow, it seems there’s a line drawn in the sand where destruction of property because of a sports victory is OK and acceptable in America,” Newsome said. “However, if you have people who are fighting for their most basic human right, the right to live, they will be condemned.”
Newsome noted that he believed the way officials treated the post-festivities riot was a “glaring example of white privilege.”
“You can riot if you’re white and your team wins, but if you’re black and being killed, you can’t speak out,” Newsome continued.
He then went on to explain that the Philadelphia riots caused him to think of those in Baltimore after the death of Freddie Gray, an African-American resident who, after being arrested, died after injuries sustained during police transport.
Many protests in Baltimore ensued in the days that followed.
“It makes me think about Baltimore because I was there the day the riots started,” Newsome told Da Silva. “You could feel the tension in the air.”
He added that the Baltimore rioters were “just so angry they didn’t know how to express themselves any other way.”
“That’s why they were rioting,” he explained. “It’s not like they were doing it in the name of fun.”
“I wish they wouldn’t riot, but I can’t condemn them and neither can anyone else, especially not the media, especially not politicians when they condone people who are just drunk and destroying property because their team won,” he added.