Mayor Nutter Takes Flash-Mob Message to the Streets
By Michael Alan Goldberg
Amid the heaviest Center City police presence in recent memory and a freshly enforced curfew, Mayor Nutter hit the streets with Deputy Mayor Everett Gillison, Town Watch Integrated Services Director Anthony Murphy, top police brass, community activists and kids (about 30 people in all) last night at 10 p.m. in a show of unity and strength against the youth violence that has been plaguing the city of late. It was also about fighting stereotypes—trying to show Philadelphians that they shouldn’t fear every group of young black males who might be out on the street.
“They’re doing the right thing,” says Nutter, standing at 15th and Chestnut streets and gesturing toward the dozen or so black teens gathered alongside him. “They understand that when they get involved, when they pay attention to what’s going on, when they monitor their own behavior, they can be right here in this great city.”
Flanked by more than a dozen bicycle cops, Nutter and his crew walked down the same stretch of 15th Street, where a mob of youths had wreaked havoc a week earlier. Eventually making his way to Rittenhouse Square, the mayor waved and stopped to shake hands with people passing by on the sidewalk and sitting at tables outside restaurants along his 45-minute route.
“I thought it was a flash mob and the bike police were following them, and then I saw it was the mayor,” says one clearly relieved man standing outside Rouge.
“All we want is a safe city, an enjoyable city,” Nutter says. “And that’s what we’re gonna have tonight, that’s what we’re gonna have tomorrow night, that’s what we’re gonna have all through the rest of the summer. We want this partnership to continue—we want to show the city, the region, the state, the country, and the rest of the world that this is the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection. You come here, you have a good time, you be downtown, you be out in the neighborhood, you be wherever you wanna be and do whatever you wanna do. Just follow the law and follow the rules and have a good time.”