Walter Wallace: Philadelphia calls Nationwide Guard after unrest | US & Canada
Philadelphia will deploy more police officers and has sought help from the National Guard as it prepares for further rioting after police killed a black man armed with a knife, authorities said Tuesday.
Hundreds of protesters took to the streets of Philadelphia on Monday after a video was shared on social media by a viewer in which two officers shot and killed 27-year-old Walter Wallace after receiving orders to withdraw and drop the knife, had ignored.
Wallace was bipolar and his mental health issues were passed on to officials before the shooting, Shaka Johnson, a lawyer for Wallace’s family, told Fox TV’s Philadelphia subsidiary.
While demonstrations began peacefully on Monday in Malcolm X Park in the west of the city, they later turned violent, causing significant damage to businesses and leading to 91 arrests, Commissioner Danielle Outlaw told a press conference.
Philadelphia dispatches more police officers to the streets after a night of unrest after police shot and killed a black man, Walter Wallace Jr., who was allegedly armed with a knife https://t.co/jbp2eJKz8r pic.twitter.com / DhOhWJCjyk
– Reuters (@Reuters), October 27, 2020
“Today and tonight we anticipate the possibility of further unrest, so we will take additional steps to maintain order,” said Outlaw, adding that she has asked the surrounding counties for assistance.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney’s office later announced that the Pennsylvania National Guard had been called in to help stem the riot.
Philadelphia was a focal point in a season of anti-racism protests in the United States sparked by the death on May 25 of George Floyd, an African American who died after a white Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes .
The protests against racial justice and the law enforcement response to them were an issue in the White House race between Republican President Donald Trump and his Democratic Party challenger Joe Biden.
“Our hearts are broken for Walter Wallace Jr.’s family and for all of those suffering the emotional weight of learning about another lost black life in America,” said Biden and runmate Kamala Harris in a statement Tuesday.
Our hearts are broken for Walter Wallace Jr.’s family and for all those suffering the emotional weight of learning about another lost black life in America.
Walter’s life was important. https://t.co/mGki28Cpyr
– Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) October 27, 2020
“We cannot accept that a mental health crisis in this country will end in death.”
Kenney said the video of the shooting asked “tough questions” about the officers’ actions. “Last night we saw more evidence of the fear of the black and brown residents of our city who have fought systemic racism all their lives,” he told the briefing.
He also expressed his condolences to the officers injured in the protests and to the business owners whose businesses were damaged, and said the law was being enforced.
“Vandalism and looting are not an acceptable form of expression of the first amendment,” said Kenney, referring to the constitutional amendment that guarantees freedom of expression.
Looters leave a cell phone shop after protests against the police who shot the death of Walter Wallace in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania [David ‘Dee’ Delgado/Reuters]According to Outlaw, a total of 91 people were arrested, including 11 for assault and 76 for burglary. Of the 30 officers injured, 29 were in stable condition, mainly after being hit by bricks and other projectiles. An officer who was run over by a truck was being treated at a hospital, Outlaw said.
The viewer’s video showed Wallace approaching two police officers who drew their guns after warning him to put the knife down. The video shows the officers withdrawing, then briefly cuts out of view as gunfire erupts and Wallace collapses.
Chief Inspector Frank Vanore said police responded to a call about a screaming man armed with a knife and each officer fired about seven shots. However, due to the ongoing investigation, he declined to elaborate.