Philadelphia arming all officers with stun guns following fatal shooting

Philadelphia arming all officers with stun guns following fatal shooting
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Philadelphia will equip all its police officers with Tasers, which officers will be trained and required to use on the job.

The move will cost $14 million and was announced on Tuesday, which marked the one-year anniversary of the police killing of Walter Wallace Jr., a 27-year-old Black man who was shot while he was undergoing a mental health crisis, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Five months after the police killing of George Floyd, Wallace, who was holding a knife, was killed when white police officers shot him 14 times.

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At the time of Wallace's death, about two-thirds of Philadelphia's police officers, including the ones who shot Wallace, were not equipped with stun guns, the Inquirer reported.

Kevin Lessard, acting communications director for the Philadelphia Mayor's Office, confirmed in a statement to The Hill that the plan was "in response to Walter Wallace, Jr.’s tragic death and his family’s calls for immediate reform."

“These Tasers will be another nonlethal option that we hope will keep officers and the public safe,” John McNesby, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #5, told the Inquirer. 

"While our work is not done, we remain strongly committed to these goals and to making our city the best, fairest, and most equitable that it can be," Philadelphia's Mayor Jim Kenney (D) added in a statement to The Hill. "I am resolved to devote every remaining day in this office to bringing about justice and true equity in our city."

Wallace's family still has a lawsuit pending against the officers and the city. Lawyers representing them told the Inquirer that the family is still mourning Wallace's “unnecessary and tragic death.”

"It is their overwhelming desire that these reforms will lead to a safer City for all citizens and ensure that no family will be forced to endure the tragedy of the loss of a loved one during a mental crisis," the lawyers also said.

The Hill has reached out to the Philadelphia Police Department for additional information. 

Updated: 6:15 p.m.