Oct 5, 2021 - News
Cars "drifting" in Center City sparks reflection
A sped-up version of cars drifting in Center City
A resident who lives in a nearby high-rise shared this video with Axios' Mike D'Onofrio

The late-night car drifting spectacle that brought traffic to a standstill outside City Hall on Saturday is still a hot topic throughout the city.

Mayor Jim Kenney blasted the illegal gathering in an emailed statement to Mike, calling it "incredibly and needlessly dangerous."

  • Kenney said he's working with police to "ensure that these reckless incidents do not happen in the future," but he didn’t provide any further details.

Catch up quick: Videos and images on social media show a large crowd surrounding several cars drifting and doing doughnuts on S 15th and Market streets late Saturday.

  • A police spokesman told Axios in an email that there were several other similar gatherings over the weekend, including one that involved more than 200 vehicles in North Philadelphia.
  • No arrests have been made in the City Hall incident, as of Monday, police said.

What they're saying: Ernest Owens, president of the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists, questioned some of the coverage's framing. He said some journalists' reporting on the weekend gathering perpetuates negative stereotypes around communities of color.

  • "It also further creates distrust within Black and brown communities and with media outlets in general."
  • But Owens added that it's not a particularly new issue. Crime involving communities of color has been consistently sensationalized in local media, he said.

Juwan Bennett, a criminal justice PHD candidate at Temple University, tells Axios people cannot see this incident in a vacuum. He argues it's a result of disinvestment in education and economic opportunity.

  • "The act is bad, and we shouldn’t excuse it," Bennett said. "But if we're not looking at the macro forces that come into play here, we're doing ourselves a disservice."
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