Philadelphia Police Shot And Killed Walter Wallace Jr.
Police in Philadelphia shot and killed a Black man as they were walking down a street on Monday afternoon. Police said the man was carrying a knife.
The video of the shooting was broadcast on television, showing two policemen carrying their rifles retreating as the man approached. Police fired several shots, and the man collapsed on the floor. He died of his injuries at a nearby hospital, Inquirer said.
Authorities identified the man as Walter Wallace Jr., 27, according to the Associated Press.
Wallace’s father, Walter Wallace Sr., told the newspaper that his son had a mental illness. “Why didn’t he use the Taser?” the father asked. “Her mother was trying to alleviate the problem.”
Wallace had recently married, was a father, and “did not deserve what he had,” his family said in a statement, according to NBC Philadelphia.
“Walter was a good man who could do anything and anything for anyone,” said the family. “It doesn’t matter if she was a lover or what time she was experiencing it all the time. And, she was married, just married to Dominique and had seven children plus one each day.”
The shooting sparked protests Monday night in Philadelphia, which began violently and, according to police, left 30 police officers injured.
Tuesday, Lt. Col. Keith Hickox confirmed to BuzzFeed News News that “several hundred members” of the Pennsylvania National Guard are being sent to the city in anticipation of more protests and riots.
Later that night, when the second night of the protest was in the city center, Wallace’s father pleaded with the protesters not to resort to violence in the name of their son.
“I hope people will respect my family and the city,” he told reporters. “I don’t have time to take over and destroy where I live. It’s unknown, and the people who are doing this, are not helping me and my family.”
Wallace’s relatives and the couple’s lawyer criticized the police’s actions at a press conference on Tuesday night, saying the couple had asked for help because of Wallace’s mental illness.
Wallace is taking Lithium, Shaka Johnson’s lawyer said, and even though the family asked for medical help it was the police who responded.
“The ambulance has not been called yet,” Johnson said. “[Officers] he had no training and no money to do the job properly, and thus, a man was killed. “
A spokesman for the city district called the shooting video “touching.”
Philadelphia District Judge Lawrence Krasner told a news conference that, according to what his office had recently received, his relatives had telephoned Wallace for medical attention.
Instead of receiving medical attention, Krasner said, the couple received “a response that was more police-like than an ambulance, as opposed to medical.”
“When I saw the most released video, I thought it was related,” he told reporters. “I have to agree with the chief of police and the mayor that he is raising some very difficult questions that need to be answered.”
Krasner said the district attorney’s office is still examining the evidence, including a video camera, about the shooting.
“It’s too early to recall what was on the minds of the officers at the time of the shooting,” he said.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said in a statement that he was in contact with the boy’s family and that this would be investigated.
“My prayers are with Walter Wallace’s family and friends,” Kenney said. “I have watched a video of this incident and it presents some difficult questions that need to be answered.”
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw has confirmed that an investigation will be launched.
“I realize that the video of the incident raises a lot of questions,” said Outlaw. “Citizens are confident that those questions will be answered in this comprehensive study.”
In his remarks, Councilor Member Jamie Gauthier has requested that they be shown on body camera images.
“We have to admit that things did not work out that way,” Gauthier said. “The use of a firearm should be the last resort for every officer. If the police had used the weapons of mass destruction instead of making a second decision to distribute their firearms, the young man would still be alive tonight.
“If the authorities had praised the life of this black man – they would have treated him as a madman, rather than a violent man – we could have escaped all our wrath by some unfair treatment at the hands of the police.”
Mr Krasner said he was hopeful that a video camera would be released from the scene to show the public’s publicity.
Early Tuesday morning, a speeding car passed a police officer on duty at a protest rally. Philadelphia’s Fox TV reported that the officer was in hospital with a broken leg.
Philadelphia, like most cities in the country, was the scene of a major protest during the summer after police killed George Floyd in Minneapolis. Thousands of protesters marched through Philadelphia; some people set fire to police cars, vandalized shops, and clashed with police.
Between 100 and 200 protesters rallied after Wallace’s death Monday night, in an area where people were protesting against Floyd’s death, Inquirer said.
Krasher said 91 people were arrested by police during the protest Monday night. Of those arrested, 27 cases have been investigated so far in connection with the second theft case.
Police told the prosecutor’s office that 11 cases of police rape would be kept, but the prosecutors had not received the case since Tuesday evening, he said.
Wallace’s assassination also prompted vice-president Joe Biden to respond, calling for a fatal shooting of a Black man killed by police.
“Our hearts are broken for the family of Walter Wallace Jr., and for all those who are suffering and hearing about another black life in America have lost,” Biden said in a statement. “We cannot accept that in this country madness ends in death.”
He further added that he strongly condemned the violence during the protests.
“There is no resentment because the real injustice in our country condones violence,” he said. “Attacking the police and destroying small businesses, which are already suffering during the epidemic, does not help the environment to get closer to justice.”
Wallace is survived by nine children, Johnson said, including their eldest son, Zamir, who spoke to reporters Tuesday night.
“We always went to places and we loved to play,” he said. “And the white apartheid police have my own father. And black life is nothing.”