What you need to know about the police shooting of Walter Wallace Jr.
Another Black man fatally shot by police, this time in Philadelphia, PA
On Oct. 26, Walter Wallace Jr. was shot by law enforcement 10 times before he died in Philadelphia’s Cobbs Creek neighborhood. Authorities were called around 4:00 p.m. Monday afternoon and a graphic video has gone viral displaying what happened to him in broad daylight after a confrontation with officers.
Wallace was seen circling the block on 61st and Locust with a knife. In the video, you can see him pacing while the officers tell him to “put the knife down.” Wallace’s mother can be seen following after him trying to convince him to answer her.
Though Wallace was at a distance, the two officers at the scene opened fire as he started to make his way towards them still armed with the knife. While unclear how many shots were fired, there are 13 evidence markers on the ground-based on the photos taken on the scene, and early reports say Wallace was struck 10 times.
The video also shows that there were multiple witnesses. When Wallace fell to the ground after being shot, you can see Wallace’s mother race to protect her son’s body from the police. The officers involved in his shooting have yet to be released along with their experience on the force.
According to the police department, both cops were wearing body cameras, but the footage is also yet to be released.
Following the fatal shooting, Philadelphia City Council held a police oversight reform hearing. Activists from the area criticized the officers for not attempting to de-escalate the scene before whipping out their guns — a cry also heard from Wallace’s mother in the immediate aftermath.
A statement by West Philly Councilmember Jamie Gauthier on Instagram, called for the immediate release of the body camera footage, noting “the public deserves a full, unvarnished accounting of what took place.”
Over the last year, law enforcement in Philadelphia has shot 10 people, with Wallace’s being the second fatality.
Quickly, activists gathered and took to the streets to protest. Hundreds marched through the streets of West Philadelphia condemning law enforcement over the renewed acts of police brutality and murder against Black people.
Frustrations ran rampant and sparked another wave of civil unrest with dumpsters set on fire and stores looted. Thirty-three people have been arrested in connection with the protests and 10 cops were reportedly injured.
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw assured people an investigation is being conducted.
“I recognize that the video of the incident raises many questions. Residents have my assurance that those questions will be fully addressed by the investigation. While at the scene this evening, I heard and felt the anger of the community. Everyone involved will forever be impacted,” she said.
Protests will likely continue throughout the week in the City of Brotherly Love with some already planned again in West Philly, near the scene of the shooting.