Story at a glance

  • The officers involved were reportedly responding to a report of a man with a knife.
  • A video filmed by a bystander shows officers commanding Wallace to drop the weapon as they backed off into the street with their guns drawn. Wallace is then seen advancing toward the officers, who then opened fire.
  • Shaka Johnson, the family’s attorney, said police were called at least three times to the home and the final 911 call was made by Wallace’s brother, who asked for medics.

The family of a Black man who was gunned down by police in a West Philadelphia neighborhood called 911 for an ambulance to get him help during a mental health crisis, the family’s lawyer said. 

Walter Wallace Jr., 27, was fatally shot by two Philadelphia police officers who were responding to a report of a man with a knife on Monday. Authorities said both officers fired multiple times after Wallace failed to comply with the officer’s orders to drop the weapon, according to The Associated Press (AP)


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A video filmed by a bystander shows officers commanding Wallace to drop the weapon as they backed off into the street with their guns drawn. Wallace is then seen advancing toward the officers, who then opened fire. It’s not clear in the video if Wallace was holding a knife, but witnesses said he was, according to AP. 

Shaka Johnson, the family’s attorney, said police were called at least three times to the home and the final 911 call was made by Wallace’s brother, who asked for medics. 

“The man was suffering. He was on doctor’s care. He was on a regiment of lithium, etc., and the police were here earlier that day,” Johnson said Tuesday, according to CBS Philly

“The ambulance never made it,” he said. 

Police could not confirm what information was given to the responding officers and whether they were informed about a mental health crisis or how many calls they received regarding the incident, AP reports. 

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said the officers involved in the shooting were not equipped with Tasers, which may otherwise have been an option for them to subdue Wallace using non-lethal means. 

“Every police officer is not issued a taser at this time. We requested additional funds so we could continue to outfit our officers with tasers,” Outlaw said, according to 6ABC

The incident sparked demonstrations and looting in Philadelphia that included clashes with police on Monday and Tuesday night. More than 30 officers were injured Monday after being hit with thrown objects while more than 90 people have been arrested. 

The officers involved in the shooting were taken off street duty as the investigation continues. 


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Published on Oct 28, 2020