PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — "Ridiculous" is what Philadelphia's police commissioner is calling notions the department "escorted" and "was extra friendly" with a far-right extremist group. That characterization, including comments from District Attorney Larry Krasner, came in an article on the news site "The Daily Beast."
The article contained videos showing police vehicles pulling into a shopping center parking lot last month for what appeared to be a Proud Boys rally, calling it a police escort.
"It is not an escort, and in fact the role of our Civil Affairs Unit is to make contact with organizers on all sides, regardless of ideology," said Commissioner Danielle Outlaw.
According to Outlaw, during any large gathering, with or without a permit, her officers are there to keep the peace.
"It's not uncommon, regardless of who is organizing demonstrations, to either be at the front or behind to make sure we keep sides separated," she said.
One of the videos shows an officer shaking hands with some of the group.
District Attorney Larry Krasner called the exchange "extra-friendly." In the article, he was quoted as saying, "That's real, real friendly to a bunch of guys who are basically playing Nazis."
The officer has been identified as Latina, with the Civil Affairs Unit, and other cops there that day said they were assigned to the event.
Outlaw rejected the idea that her officers were in any way "welcoming" the Proud Boys.
"It is completely ridiculous. We are a neutral party," she said. "We are there to ensure the community is safe, that those involved are safe."