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Lawyer says family of man shot by Philadelphia police called for ambulance

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An attorney representing the family of a Black man shot and killed by police in Philadelphia said late Tuesday that the man’s family had requested an ambulance in a 911 call because he was having a mental health crisis before the fatal encounter with officers.

The Associated Press reported that Shaka Johnson added at a news conference alongside family members of Walter Wallace Jr. that Philadelphia police are not prepared to deal with citizens experiencing mental health issues.

“When you come to a scene where somebody is in a mental crisis, and the only tool you have to deal with it is a gun … where are the proper tools for the job?” Johnson asked, according to the AP.

Family members added at the news conference that even though they did not request police, officers should have known about Wallace’s situation because they were dispatched to the same location three other times the same day.

Wallace’s mother, Cathy Wallace, told reporters that officers “stood there and laughed at us” one of the times they were dispatched. Information about Walter Wallace Jr.’s death has been slow to come out, with the identities of the two officers who shot at least 14 rounds at him after he did not drop a knife still unknown. The two have reportedly yet to be interviewed by investigators.

His death Monday sparked protests that have continued in the city, as well as some incidents of vandalism and looting.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany blamed the protests Tuesday night on “Liberal Democrats’ war against the police” in a statement.

“Law enforcement is an incredibly dangerous occupation, and thousands of officers have given their lives in the line of duty,” she said. “All lethal force incidents must be fully investigated. The facts must be followed wherever they lead to ensure fair and just results. In America, we resolve conflicts through the courts and the justice system. We can never allow mob rule.”

— Updated at 8:11 a.m.


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