Walter Wallace Jr. Philadelphia black man w/knife shot dead by Philly police. Justified shooting? Protesters gather demanding justice over ‘needless death’.
The shooting occurred just before 4 p.m. when two officers fired at a 27-year-old man, Walter Wallace Jr. who authorities said ignored commands to drop the weapon. It was not clear how many times he was hit with preliminary reports indicating at least ten to thirteen gunshots were fired.
Authorities said officers were called to the West Philadelphia block where they encountered a man with a knife. They said Wallace Jr. was with another person and that they appeared to have had an altercation.
The officers ordered the man to drop the knife before he allegedly charged at them. The officers were wearing body cameras, a police spokesperson said. Of note, witnesses countered police claims that Wallace ever charged at police.
Philadelphia cops fatally shot Walter Wallace Jr. today, firing 10+ times at him while he stood at least 10ft away. He allegedly had a knife but cops made NO attempts at de-escalating the situation in this video. They went straight to killing Wallace in front of his loved ones! pic.twitter.com/U2zYGqK7Ag
— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) October 27, 2020
Witnesses said that Wallace was at least 10 feet away from the officers when they opened fire. Captured video posted on Twitter showed Wallace walking toward officers as they backed away at the time.
Both officers were taken off street duty pending an investigation. The identities and race of the police officers was not made public.
Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner said his office’s Special Investigation Unit will be part of the investigation into the shooting.
‘The DAO Special Investigation Unit responded to today’s fatal shooting of a civilian by police shortly after it occurred, and has been on scene with other DAO personnel since that time investigating, as we do jointly with the PPD Officer-Involved Shooting Investigation Unit, in shootings and fatalities by other means involving police,’ he said in a statement.
‘…difficult questions that must be answered…’
Mayor Jim Kenney said he watched a video of the incident, responding, ‘it presents difficult questions that must be answered.’ He said he has spoken with Wallace’s family.
Close to 150 people had gathered at Malcolm X Park, Monday night, chanting ‘Black Lives Matter.’ Demonstrators questioned the ‘apparent’ haste of officers to use lethal force.
‘Why not a warning shot?’ demanded Arnett Woodall, a community organizer according to the Inquirer. ‘Why not a Taser? Why not a shot in the leg?’
A group protesting through west philly being followed slowly by cars honking in support and drivers leaning out their windows cheering pic.twitter.com/WeDpiM1nnX
— Anna Orso (@anna_orso) October 27, 2020
Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said the video footage of the shooting ‘raises many questions.’
‘Residents have my assurance that those questions will be fully addressed by the investigation,’ she said. ‘While at the scene this evening, I heard and felt the anger of the community. Everyone involved will forever be impacted.’