Peoria, Ill., Police Take Correct Action with Alleged ‘Mob Action’

COMMENTARY | It is one of the most difficult topics to report — that of race “riots.” In my city of Peoria, Ill., about 50 African-American youths Sunday allegedly blocked traffic and shouted “We’re gonna kill all the white people–this is our neighborhood.”

The reference article for this story is one posted by Michael Boren on the website titled “Some claim reports of racist Peoria mob are exaggerated.”

What happened was a group of African-American youths did “something.” The act was reported at its worst and received national attention. However, there have been mixed reports after the fact about what really happened.

Is there any way we can get an accurate idea as to the real “situation?” We must ask ourselves “Have the 1960s returned?” Are race riots around the corner? Was a group of African-American kids unfairly accused?

I want to weigh in on the situation because I believe a little careful consideration may give us some clues.

First of all, something did happen. Obviously, while some people said there were severe actions and others said there were not, they agreed there was a ruckus.

It was reported these people had come from a party. I doubt they have their “business persona” on. I also doubt this was an organized “revolt.” More likely it was a spontaneous idea; those are not always well thought out.

On the other hand, some witness indicated that while the young people stopped traffic (this at about 11 p.m.) they “did it in an orderly manner.” The problem is, I would be just as scared as the driver of a car if I was stopped in an “orderly way.”

When the police came, the group dispersed quickly.

In reading this reference report and others I have browsed, you have some people feeling threatened and some saying it was “nothing.”

I am familiar with the area. I would suggest the following:

First, it is summer. More “loud” activity occurs then. There was a group and it was larger than a “couple of kids.” The group did more than just walk through the neighborhood.

The group did not stick around and grapple with police.

It would seem to me, as a result of the aforementioned, this was no “movement activity.” It seems perhaps what might have allegedly been said was unfortunate.

I don’t believe people were in danger, yet I wouldn’t dismiss it. It isn’t quite a tempest in a teapot — perhaps a summer storm.

I think the police are doing the right thing simply increasing security for the time being.

References:, Michael Boren, “Some claim reports of racist Peoria mob are exaggerated”, Jim Kane, “Was Peoria Terrorized by a Racist Mob?”