INQUIRER: At about 11 p.m. [Saturday night], as a group of about 50 teens approached 10th and South, trying to head back east, Ball called for assistance. “You need to get me five or six more officers,” he said, “so we don’t lose the ground we just gained.” One youth who declined to give his name explained why he was on South Street. “Some people call,” he said. “They tell you to come down, so you come down.” Sgt. Ray Evers said early Sunday morning police had made three arrests – two for disorderly conduct and one for aggravated assault. Evers said there were no reports of injuries or damage. Police had spent several hours trying to disperse the huge crowd and move the flood of teens west toward Broad Street. Shortly before 11 p.m., Officer Christine O’Brien, a spokeswoman for the Police Department, said additional officers were being rushed to the South Street area, including members of the Narcotics Strike Force. The crowd brought traffic along South Street to a standstill and caused drivers to nervously sit in their cars while police tried to disperse the youths. Businesses along South Street locked their doors, and some restaurants kept their patrons inside to keep them safe. “This is the worst I’ve ever seen it,” said Barbara Bender, who has been a waitress and manager at South Street Souvlaki at 509 South St. for about 30 years. Normally the popular restaurant is open Saturdays until 10:30 or 11 p.m., but it closed last night at 9:30. “It’s a bunch of young kids that are creating havoc, and it’s killing our business,” she said. “It’s scary.” Bender observed some fights, a few outbreaks and then masses of teens running madly in one direction before shifting and running another way. “The cops are really trying,” she said. “But it’s overwhelming.” MORE
RELATED: By 10 p.m., crowd control had become a cat-and-mouse game, the overflow on South Street shooed away, only to surface near the Clothespin sculpture at 15th and Market where one witness reported a peak of 32 police cars and helicopters with searchlights overhead. No significant property damage or injuries were reported and police said they made only three arrests – two for disorderly conduct and one for aggravated assault. But the numbers didn’t fully capture the terrifying moments some businesses experienced. At Olympia II Pizza, 616 South St., pizza delivery man Seth Kaufman, 20, showed off nasty scrapes and bruises on his face and arms he said he sustained from kicks and punches while trying to keep a rowdy crowd from entering the shop to join a fight in progress: “He got beat up for us,” owner Horula Psihogios , said through tears. She has run the shop for 26 years with her husband, Pete. Other witnesses described a scene that began innocently before sundown – young teens, most of them about 15 years old, aimlessly strolling the funky avenue of steak joints, tatto parlors and head shops on one of the first truly balmy evenings of spring. But after sundown and continuing until 10:30 p.m., the crowds grew, and so did the a sense of unease. MORE
HEARD IN THE HALL: Mayor Nutter urged parents and guardians to help the city as it works to control a recent series of “flash mobs,” the sudden gathering of hundreds of teens at sites throughout the city. While the vast majority of participants have been non-violent, there have been some reported assaults, and authorities are worried that the episodes could erupt into broader violence. “People are still allowed to get together in variety of places throughout the city, that’s one of the wonderful freedoms that we enjoy as Americans. But there are limits in terms of appropriate behaviors and activities,” Mayor Nutter said. Nutter said the city would soon be announcing a series of steps designed to deal with the flash mobs. He would not say exactly when those measures would be announced. MORE
It gets good around the 30-second mark.
PREVIOUSLY: Cops Get Medieval On Flash Mob’s Ass
PREVIOUSLY: Flash Mob Rampages At The Gallery