Police and protesters clashed for a second night in Philadelphia following the police shooting death of 27-year-old Black man Walter Wallace Jr. Footage of the shooting shows Wallace being shot at several times by the police on Monday after they yelled at him to drop a knife.
Wallace had a mental health crisis before his killing, and his family had called for an ambulance to seek help for their son, according to their lawyer, Shaka Johnson. The lawyer said the officers were aware of Wallace’s mental health crisis since they had been to the family home on about three occasions before he was shot.
Hundreds of people who gathered in a West Philadelphia park on Tuesday night started marching through the neighborhood in protest of Wallace’s killing. The march turned violent when the group came across some police officers near a police station and started throwing bricks, rocks and light bulbs at them, according to reports. Others looted shops amid reports of arrests in other areas of the city Tuesday around 9 p.m.
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During Monday night’s protests, some 30 police officers were injured and about 90 people were arrested. Philadelphia Police Department tweeted, “A large crowd of appx 1000 is looting businesses,” and advised residents to remain indoors as the police and the National Guard were deployed.
Wallace’s family has meanwhile condemned the violence and looting. “Stop this violence and chaos,” Wallace’s father, Walter Wallace Sr., said outside of the family’s home on Tuesday, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. “People have businesses. We all got to eat.”
Police commissioner Danielle M. Outlaw said an investigation into the shooting is underway, adding that all issues in the video would be addressed. District Attorney Larry Krasner also released a statement saying his office would conduct a joint investigation of the shooting along with the police department’s Officer-Involved Shooting Investigation Unit.
Police spokesperson Tanya Little said the shooting happened before 4 pm Monday after officers received a call about a man screaming and holding a weapon. Officers arrived at Cobbs Creek, a predominantly Black neighborhood in west Philadelphia where they found Wallace holding a knife, Little said. The officers ordered Wallace to drop the knife; he refused and rather “advanced toward” them, according to Little.
Both officers then fired “several times” at Wallace, who got hit in the shoulder and chest. He was later pronounced dead at a hospital the police drove him to. The officers involved have so far been taken off street duty pending further investigation.
A bystander shot a video of the incident, which was shared on social media by civil rights attorney Ben Crump. Wallace’s death is the latest killing of a Black person by police in the U.S. after months of protests against racial injustice and police brutality in the wake of the death of unarmed man George Floyd.