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Philadelphia Man Proposing To Girlfriend As Protesters Clash With Police

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A couple got engaged on the streets of Philadelphia as protests over the shooting of Walter Wallace raged around them.

Maurice Small, 32, proposed to Tanesha Pennington—his girlfriend of eight years—in the middle of the street at the intersection of 52nd and Chestnut on Tuesday night, according to local reports.

Small popped the question as a line of police officers holding riot shields looked on. The moment of joy came during the second night of violent unrest in the city, which has seen police officers clashing with protesters and widespread looting.

In a video shared to social media, Small can be seen kneeling in the street before he stands and the couple embrace. Crowds of protesters surround them cheering while filming the proposal on their phones.

In the background, cars can be seen waiting to cross the intersection while blue police vehicle lights flash and officers in riot gear stand in a line.

Pennington told The Philadelphia Inquirer that she and Small conceived a baby, but had lost it to a miscarriage. She told the publication that the tragedy had brought them closer together and led to the proposal on Tuesday.

In tears, she said: “We realized we didn’t want to be with anyone else.”

It came against a backdrop of chaos as people took to the streets for the second night running.

In videos shared on social media, police officers can be seen throwing punches, deploying tear gas and using their batons to try to bring the protests under control. Other clips captured stores being trashed as looters flood the aisles and ransack shelves.

The Philadelphia Police Department warned that a large crowd of about 1,000 people were looting businesses in the area of Castor and Aramingo Avenues.

Due to the chaos, officers requested that residents remain indoors in West and North Philadelphia, Kensington, and other areas.

The Pennsylvania National Guard has been mobilized to help with the response to the riots.

Public affairs officer Lieutenant Colonel Keith Hickox said in a statement that Governor Tom Wolf had directed the state’s National Guard to deploy to assist local law enforcement “in protecting life, property and the right to peacefully assemble and protest.”

Hickox gave no specifics for the number of troops mobilized, how long the Guard presence in the city is expected to last or exactly how many troops will be deployed.

A row of police face demonstrators in Philadelphia on October 27, 2020, during a protest over the police shooting of 27-year-old Black man Walter Wallace.
GABRIELLA AUDI/AFP via Getty Images

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