Moments before dozens of Philadelphia Police officers with bikes burst into the "Occupy ICE" camp at Eighth and Cherry streets Thursday, the mood was tense, but civil.
Police officials had told campers to get their stuff off the sidewalk. The Occupiers started moving coolers and cases of water. Then, police told them to clear a space in front of the garage doors of the federal property where they were protesting.
Minutes later, the raid that has since garnered national attention began. A police spokesman said that day that protesters were given "numerous warnings" to clear the area, which was blocking entrances and exits to the building. Mayor Kenney said Friday that he's asked the city's Police Advisory Commission to review the tactics used, though the mayor largely defended the police's action.
"The issue with yesterday's situation," he said, "was that the actions of the police were recorded but not the warnings that were given prior to the action being taken."
Below, a video comprising clips by Inquirer and Daily News staff writer Anna Orso and photographer David Swanson sheds light on what happened right before the raid, including two interactions between police and protesters, and the confusion that resulted. The accompanying timeline reflects events, although not comprehensive, as witnessed by Orso, Swanson, and staff writer Juliana Feliciano Reyes.
Police haven't answered further questions about the "numerous warnings" they said were given or detailed police protocol in the event of a protest encampment — although a 1992 police directive about demonstrations blocking entrances and exits doesn't mention warnings.
(The camp, a local effort of a nationwide movement calling for the abolition of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, has since relocated to City Hall, where Kenney says it can stay as long as protesters don't put up permanent structures like tents or generators. Kenney is to meet with protesters Monday night.)
The following video contains profanity.
Police presence grows all around the camp. A mounted unit is on scene. A bike unit slowly inches closer toward the back of the camp on Cherry Street.
A handful of police officials cross Eighth Street in order to engage with protesters. They speak with Aine Fox, a representative with the Up Against the Law Legal Collective, which provides legal assistance to protesters. Fox represented protesters in conversations with police, often flanked by protesters who were designated "de-escalators" meant to calm conflict between police and demonstrators.
A police official, above in the green shirt, tells Fox what area protesters should begin to clear: "They're giving a warning for the stuff in front of the door and over to the sidewalk … So all this on the sidewalk has to be moved, everything on the sidewalk around to the front door," the police official said.
Following her conversation with police, Fox reports back to protesters. She says: "So what their demand of the day today is, is that y'all have to move all of the water back in where the canopies are. So basically they want to be able to fence you in from the front like you're fenced in from the back. So that is the first warning, there will be three warnings … that's the warning and that's what you're being directed to do right now."
Protesters begin to comply and relocate water. At the same time, other officers are giving instructions to protesters, although it's unclear what those instructions are.
A protester speaks to the group: "We're trying to ask why we're being asked to move. There's been some miscommunication, the cops are not telling us s—."
Another protester: "Then they'll be putting up barricades to keep us in them … they're going to enclose us. That's their plan. To keep us as pigeonholed as we can be."
A police official in uniform gives more instructions to Fox, who expresses her confusion. "What is happening now is that multiple different orders are being given to do different things all under the … premise of one warning to move things off the sidewalk," she says. "That is the warning that was given … to clear the sidewalk. The sidewalk is now clear."
The officer responds: "So I'm going to be clear. Where all of this is [gestures toward garages on Cherry Street] is federal property. Everything you have right here is on federal property … all the tents, which we had talked about before, need to be put down. Everything that you have in front of that door needs to be moved. So I need for that bay to be clear, because it is …"
Officers with bicycles enter through the back of the camp and begin dismantling the site.
Police begin removing protesters sitting on the ground and attempting to block police from advancing.
In all, seven protesters were removed, issued a citation for "failure to disperse" and released within two hours.
Almost 50 police with bikes come to a stop once they reach Eighth Street. The standoff with protesters continues as a line of officers blocks access to the street behind them where other officers and municipal workers begin clearing the space of beach umbrellas, chairs, canopies, and other encampment structures.
Police begin to retreat.