July 24, 2023
A Philadelphia police officer was hit by a car and broke his ankle while attempting to disperse a crowd of people gathered on Broad Street in North Philly early Sunday morning, police said.
About 500 people were gathered near the Sunoco gas station at Broad and Thompson streets just before 2 a.m., police said. Videos on social media showed people hanging out of a car doing doughnuts while others watched the stunt, CBS Philadelphia reported. The injured officer, whose name has not been released, was struck by the car as it left the area. He was treated at Jefferson University Hospital.
Several other officers also sustained injuries while breaking up the crowd and were treated, FOX29 reported. Police did not immediately provide information about the car that hit the officer or the driver. No arrests have been made, though Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw tweeted on Sunday afternoon that detectives were looking through footage and that arrests were possible.
"Wishing the (police) officers who were injured last night a speedy recovery," Mayor Jim Kenney tweeted Sunday. "I am always grateful to our officers who put themselves in harm's way every day to protect the public and keep the peace. Car meets are disruptive, reckless and often dangerous, which is why the (Philadelphia Police Department) has assembled dedicated teams of officers to monitor and address these events. I'm thankful officers were able to successfully disperse last night's large meetup without any further injury."
The gathering was 1 of 3 that occurred Saturday night into Sunday morning, though the others happened in Northeast Philly, the Inquirer reported. Police said they disbanded those events without issue.
"The people that live in the city of Philadelphia communities are starting to feel that this is the norm here, that the lawlessness in the norm, that they can do whatever they want and there are no repercussions," John McNesby, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5, told 6ABC. "The officers were injured trying to make arrests out there and one officer I did speak to, he's in severe pain and we're helping him with his treatment. But again, blocking the highways out there with four-wheelers surrounding people, we can't have that."
Often described as car meetups, these gatherings have garnered scrutiny from police and residents because of the potential for danger, particularly when doing stunts like doughnuts or spin-outs.
Last month, a 15-year-old Interboro High School student was fatally shot by a Pennsylvania state trooper after he allegedly struck two troopers with his car during a large car meet on I-95. The District Attorney's Office is conducting an independent investigation of the shooting.
In the wake of that shooting, Councilmember Mike Driscoll introduced a bill that would impose fines on people who participate in illegal or unsanctioned car meets and street races. If passed, the bill would impose a $2,000 fine on drivers caught violating the law on city streets and highways, and at parking lots and recreation centers without the owner's consent. The bill has not yet been voted on.
People with information about the gathering or the car that struck and injured the officer should contact the Police Department's tipline at (215) 686-8477.