Another fatal police shooting is making national news in the United States. On Monday afternoon, 27-year-old Walter Wallace Jr. was shot numerous times by Philadelphia law enforcement officers before he was pronounced dead at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center.
Authorities claim Wallace was holding a knife at the time of the incident. Video footage appears to show that Wallace was approaching two officers who were multiple feet away when they fired at him. A police spokesperson said the officers ordered Wallace to drop the knife before firing. Both officers were wearing body cameras which will be part of the investigation.
Wallace’s mother was at the scene and tried to restrain her son before he was shot. The shooting sparked several protests throughout the city. There have also been reports of vandalism and looting. Philadelphia-raised rapper Meek Mill took to Instagram to share his thoughts on the situation.
Meek wrote, “A so called ‘thug on the streets’ wouldn’t shoot a man with a small knife that many times to protect themselves… the hood been seeing this our whole lives… I posted for y’all to see a young man killed in front of his mom coulda been resolved with a [Taser] or a shot or 2! Let’s help her ASAP!”
Wallace’s father, Walter Wallace Sr., made similar points as Meek Mill. The senior Wallace is quoted saying, “Why didn’t they use a Taser? His mother was trying to defuse the situation. He has mental issues. Why you have to gun him down?”
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney released the following statement:
My prayers are with the family and friends of Walter Wallace. I have watched the video of this tragic incident and it presents difficult questions that must be answered. I spoke tonight with Mr. Wallace’s family, and will continue to reach out to hear their concerns first-hand, and to answer their questions to the extent that I am able. The Officer Involved Shooting Investigation Unit of PPD will conduct a full investigation. I look forward to a speedy and transparent resolution for the sake of Mr. Wallace, his family, the officers, and for Philadelphia.
Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw stated:
I have directed the Officer Involved Shooting Investigation Unit to begin its investigation. 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. I will be leaning on what the investigation gleans to answer the many unanswered questions that exist. I also plan to join the Mayor in meeting with members of the community and members of Mr. Wallace’s family to hear their concerns as soon as it can be scheduled.